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Holiday shopping season kicks-off Thursday night

POSTED: November 21, 2012 4:00 a.m.
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Shoppers wait for stores to open during last year’s Midnight Madness event at North Georgia Premium Outlets.

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The official Christmas shopping season is still a couple days away, but retailers are bracing for one of the busiest Black Friday shopping events in years.

According to a report by the National Retail Federation, an estimated 147 million people will shop either at stores or online during the Black Friday weekend, which draws its name from an accounting term that indicates retailers have made a profit, or are "in the black."

Big box retailer Walmart will kick-off the holiday shopping season with a pre-Black Friday event starting at 8 p.m. Thursday with additional items available at 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Friday.

North Georgia Premium Outlets will also be opening early this year with select stores opening as early as 9 p.m. for what is billed as Midnight Madness.

Jakia Hopgood of Decatur said there was nothing "mad" or "crazy" about waiting in a 400-person deep line to find a deal for designer handbags during last year's shopping event.

"The lines are long and it's too cold, but we're hearing Coach has everything for 30 percent off," she said.

While finding that perfect gift at a bargain price is alluring, the Dawson County Sheriff's Office wants to remind everyone of predators that target shoppers each holiday season.

"There's going to be a lot of people out shopping this weekend, but there's also going to be those criminals that target shoppers," said Lt. Ray Goodie. "There are some very simple things, like locking your cars and leaving valuables at home, you can do to make sure you are not a victim of these predators."

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