USA Today has a fun little roundup of some of the extreme promotions and extended operating hours, which now include quite a bit of sales beginning on Thanksgiving itself.
Latest to join in: Wal-Mart (WMT), which announced Monday that it is moving some of its "Black Friday" promotions to its website on Thanksgiving Day. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday because the launch of holiday shopping can move retailers' balance sheets into the black.
Other signs of early shopping:
•Nearly 4 million people visited the online ads for major retailers on Thanksgiving Day last year, says ShopLocal, which maintains the weekly ads on most major retailers' websites.
•Kmart, about the only non-food or drugstore open on Thanksgiving, gets "a ton of traffic," especially from 7 to 10 a.m., says spokeswoman Alison Kmiotek.