UNDATED, Ala. (AP) - Alabama stores are jammed Friday with early risers carting off holiday gifts, everything from toys and clothing to flat-panel TVs.
"Black Friday," as its sometimes called is the official kickoff of the holiday shopping season, even though some retailers opened on Thanksgiving Day.
In Baldwin County, the Tanger Factory Outlet stores in Foley opened at midnight, drawing large crowds.
Thousands packed the state's largest shopping area, the Galleria in suburban Birmingham, which opened at 5 a-m with a concert by the band Chevy 6. A Galleria spokeswoman said the event began at 3 am last year, but a marketing survey showed the true shoppers didn't come that early.
Consumer Reports surveyed one-thousand adults on holiday shopping habits and found that women will shoulder much of the shopping burden. Among couples, 78 percent of the women surveyed told the magazine that they completed 75 percent or more of the household's holiday shopping last year.
A spokeswoman for Madison Square Mall in Huntsville, which has 120 stores, said they expect to have a better than usual holiday season partly because of a yearlong renovation of the mall.
Marty Dubuy said Black Friday draws crowds, but she said the mall's busiest traffic day is usually the Saturday before Christmas Day.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)