Stores Usher The Holiday Shopping Season's Traditional Start

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Shoppers looking for hot items and discounts have taken to the Internet and retail outlets for a head start on holiday shopping.

More than a dozen major retailers opened earlier than usual on Thanksgiving Day despite tradition and objections from some workers groups angered that employees are being forced to leave families and traditional meals behind.

Some bargain seekers didn't seem to mind. More than 200 people stood in line at the Toys R Us store in the Manhattan before its 5 p.m. opening. One shopper said she was looking to save $30 dollars on a dollhouse. At a Target store in nearby Brooklyn, about 25 people were waiting in line at hours before a Target was to open.

Stealing thunder from Black Friday appears to be a growing trend. Sales on turkey day were $810 million last year, an increase of 55 percent from the previous year as more stores opened on the holiday. That's according to Chicago research firm ShopperTrak. But sales dropped 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion on Black Friday, though it still was the biggest shopping day last year.

The break with tradition has drawn some protests. Some workers have petitions on to protest against Target and Best Buy.

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