In the LA suburb of Glendale, shoppers who didn't make it to the1.5-million-sf Glendale Galleria early on Friday or Saturday had towait several minutes just to get into the parking structure andbegin their hunt for a parking space. Once inside the mall, theyhad to snake their way through thousands of fellow shoppers—many ofthem already loaded down with big shopping bags and boxes ofpresents.

Foot traffic at the mall was up 8% on Friday compared to a yearearlier, Glendale Galleria marketing exec Annette Bethers says. Itwas up an even stronger 10% on Saturday, she adds.

Many Kmart stores opened early on Thanksgiving Day, and stayedopen around-the-clock until late Sunday evening. Dozens andsometimes even hundreds of people lined up outside several big-boxretailers—including Target, Circuit City and Best Buy—well beforethe stores opened on Friday morning, and again on Saturday.

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