Thanksgiving is a week later than usual this year, which means fewer days in the official holiday shopping season.
There are 26 shopping days from Black Friday to Christmas; shoppers and retailers are used to about 30 days if not more. As a result some retailers and shoppers are getting a head start.
“I think it happens every decade, once or twice,” said Missoula Southgate Mall Manager Tim Winger. “I think this year they expect the weekends to be very, very busy.”
Some shoppers are getting a head start on their lists, tracking down the best deals.
“We've even had some gals coming in asking us ahead of time what our promotions are going to be so that they can just have it on their list and come in and grab it as soon as it's on sale,” said Skin Chic Co-Owner Jennifer Clouse.
To make up for the shorter shopping season, many retailers around the nation will open up a little earlier.
“We have a list of about 22 stores that will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving,” said Winger. “And a bunch more open at midnight.”
Retailers are also focused on getting the word out about sales and promotions.
“We like to get our email blasts and Facebook ready to go so that people can plan ahead,” Clouse said.
Despite the condensed calendar the National Retail Federation is projecting a big shopping season. Sales are estimated at $602.1 billion -- an increase of 3.9 percent over 2012's $579.5 billion.