Julie Tam, NBCDFW
Retailers hope early sales will help their bottom line.
The giant Christmas tree is up inside The Galleria ice rink in Dallas, signaling the start of the holiday shopping season. Retailers are putting items on sale well before Black Friday to cash in.
The Gap is doing what it calls "fast tracking" -- putting sweaters and other winter clothing on sale sooner to make room for new styles -- and customers are flocking to the sale racks.
"I think it's great. I think the earlier the better to get it all out of the way," holiday shopper Andrew Crawford said.
The National Retail Federation is predicting a modest 2.3-percent boost in holiday sales over last year. More shoppers are looking for bargains.
At Macy's, winter clothes and accessories, jewelry, and even chocolate are marked down -- and marked down, again. The department store has expanded its toy section, so it's bigger than ever.
One of the most popular toys this holiday season is the Sing-a-ma-jig, dolls that sing together when you press their tummy or hand. Macy's was down to only a few of the toys on Sunday afternoon. People who shop early can snatch them up and beat the crowds.
"You're not racing to grab stuff off the rack or off the counter, like a lot of people are. Then if you come too late, it's all picked over. So I'd rather come early, when the first sales are," holiday shopper Shani Lalani said.