Ready. Set. Shop.
Lawrence retailers say they are prepared for the hustling and bustling to start early on "Black Friday," the busiest shopping day of the year.
"For us, it's an important weekend because it is traditionally the kickoff of the season," said Dan Hughes, owner of Sunflower Outdoor and Bike Shop, 802 Mass. "Our sales get bigger and bigger as we get closer and closer to Christmas."
In Lawrence, shoppers will have plenty of options to get started as early or as late as they want.
Two stores - Kohl's, 3420 Iowa, and J.C. Penney Co., 3311 Iowa - will open in the dark, at 4 a.m. Best Buy, 2020 W. 31st St., opens at 5 a.m. and Target, 3201 Iowa, follows at 6 a.m.
The die-hard shoppers who don't wait for the sun to come up will have to brave some cold temperatures to get inside. Forecasters predict a 4 a.m. temperature of 23 degrees.
"It's going to be really chilly," 6News meteorologist Matt Elwell said. "Enough that you'll really want to bundle up."
It could turn out to be a decent shopping day with a high of 43 degrees, little wind and some sunshine, Elwell said.
Retailers said a majority of Black Friday shoppers typically look for the best deals on gifts, like electronics.
New high-definition televisions and video game systems tend to be popular in December, said Jennie McCart, a Target store manager.
Nationally, retailers predict toys, such as Transformers action figures and items based on singing star Hannah Montana, to be in high demand. The Nintendo Wii video game console is expected to be a hot-selling holiday item for the second consecutive year.
"We get those in and sell them out as fast as we get them in," McCart said. The store was sold out Wednesday.
The party in downtown Lawrence will spill into the evening, as festivities are scheduled to start 5 p.m. in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street, and Santa Claus is scheduled to appear at 6 p.m. on the roof of Weaver's Department Store, 901 Mass.
Shopping safety tips
In the parking lot
¢ Lock your vehicle.
¢ Keep your valuables hidden; use the trunk.
¢ Park in a well-lit area.
In the store
¢ Keep your valuables with you always.
¢ Don't flash large bills.
¢ Keep a hand on small children.
¢ Immediately report lost credit cards or checks to your bank or credit company.
On the Internet
¢ Don't use bank cards connected to your bank account.
¢ Make sure the Web site is secure.
¢ Print out receipts and double-check your credit card statements.
¢ Talk to your insurance agent about identity-theft protection.
Sources: Lawrence Police Department, Allstate Insurance corporate relations