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BF Crowds Came Out Earlier: NRF

More shoppers headed out for bargains before sunrise in order to nab the best Black Friday bargains.

According to a Thanksgiving weekend survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and BIGresearch, nearly one-third of Black Friday shoppers (31.2 percent) were at the stores by 5:00 a.m., compared with 23.3 percent who were at stores by that time last year.

“During a more robust economy, people may be inclined to hit the ‘snooze’ button on Black Friday,” said Phil Rist, strategic initiatives executive VP at BIGresearch. “But high unemployment and a focus on price caused shoppers to visit stores early in anticipation of the best deals,” he said.

Among the more hard-core consumers, 3.3 percent were on line by midnight, up from 2.2 percent last year, while 3.6 percent arrived by 3:00 a.m., up from 2.1 percent in 2008. Another 10.3 percent showed up at stores by 4:00 am, up from 8.3 percent last year, while 12.4 percent arrived by the 5:00 hour, up from 9.3 percent a year ago.