Alabama Stores Jammed with Early Risers

AP Graphic Bank

UNDATED, Ala. (AP) - Its chilly outside, but that means nothing to thousands of Alabama shoppers who are determined to find bargains.

"Black Friday," as its sometimes called is the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season, even though some retailers opened on Thanksgiving Day.

Stores from Huntsville to Mobile invited shoppers in as early as 4 a.m. Retailers are relying on hoards of frugal spenders who are willing to forgo sleep for dirt-cheap goods.

Realizing that the holiday shopping season this year is going to be challenging, stores started discounting weeks ago, with such gimmicks as door busters and expanded hours.

This year, analysts expect sales gains to be the weakest in five years.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)