Next Year, Thanksgiving Dinners May Start at Noon

Wonder why the mall didn't seem any busier this holiday weekend than on a normal Saturday or Sunday? The early birds really got the worm - and the business..

According to the National Retail Federation,  twenty-five percent of all Black Friday shoppers were already at stores by midnight on Friday, jumping on the early openings that spread like wildfire this year. Deals on clothing were highest priority for 51 percent of shoppers, while 39.4 percent were clamoring for electronic goodies, up from 36.7 percent last year.  The average weekend family purchase was $398.62, up from $365.34 last year.

Office superstore chains that delayed openings to more reasonable Friday A.M. hour suffered "the worst customer traffic of the week," said Kate McShane, a retail analyst at Citigroup. And regional chains which also held back to give employees a nice Thanksgiving likewise  took it on the chin.

The shopping malls that opened at midnight "were the winners and you will see more of them opening at that time next year," predicted another Citigroup analyst, Jeff Black.