Nightly News | November 24, 2011
>>> good evening, everyone, and happy thanksgiving. i'm savannah guthrie in tonight for brian. and usually they let your turkey digest before they expect you in the stores. but the notorious shopping day known as black friday is now creeping into thanksgiving thursday, and there's a reason for it. retailers are desperate for the business. if you want to take the temperature of the american economy , what happens over the next four weeks or so provides as good a snapshot as any. the folks who survey these things for a living tell us some 152 million people plan to shop in the next three days. that's a 10% increase from last year. so the stakes are high, not just for all those retailers counting on the business, but also for what it says about how americans feel about their economic prospects. for more on that, nbc's john yang starts us off tonight from chicago.
>> this one?
>> no, pink.
>> reporter: for shoppers across the country, today was about more than just turkey with all the fixings.
>> already had my dinner cooked. when i get done shopping, i go home and eat, relax and get ready to shop again.
>> the last couple years the deals are better on thanksgiving.
>> reporter: this year deals could be even more important. according to a survey from the accounting firm deloit americans plan to slash their holiday spending by more than 15% from last year. the reasons, higher food and gas prices , worries about the economy and worsening household finances. to compete for consumer dollars, black friday is eating into thanksgiving day .
>> 4:00 a.m . on black friday.
>> reporter: as retailers open up --
>> friday morning at midnight.
>> reporter: earlier and earlier.
>> 9:00 p.m . thursday night.
>> our customers have told us that they want to start shopping earlier.
>> reporter: target's planned midnight opening sparked outcry from workers and shoppers. nearly 200,000 people signed petitions asking the retailer to open later.
>> a full holiday is not just for the elite of the nation. all americans should break bread with loved ones and get a good night's rest on thanksgiving.
>> reporter: some chose to spend thanksgiving outside stores.
>> 3:00 in the morning, 2:00, whatever time it takes to get there.
>> reporter: for those who don't want to face the crowds at stores and malls, retailers are making plenty of deals available online, as they do everything they can to try to get americans spending again.
>> thank you.
>> look for these extended hours and these extra deals that are being given to the consumer to help move the economy just a little bit further.
>> reporter: no big storms in the forecast through this weekend, which is good news for retailers who are hoping for a record number of shoppers in the next few days. savannah.
>> all right, john yang live in chicago . thanks, john. we