BOSTON (CBS/AP) – With stores in several states starting Black Friday early this year on Thanksgiving, shoppers in Massachusetts were forced by the Commonwealth’s Blue Laws to stick to traditional shopping hours.

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That didn’t stop the crowds from showing up just after midnight on Friday at the malls and stores.

The long line outside the Best Buy Watertown at 1 a.m. Friday. (Photo by Fausto Menard)

Joe Russell was hunting for a great deal on a large flat-screen TV and went to the Best Buy store in Watertown.

But the long line of shoppers gunning for door-buster promotions deterred him from braving the freezing temperatures.

So Russell returned to the store after sunrise and got a different TV for “a decent price.”

“This is the earliest I’ve ever shopped,” he said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports from Wrentham

It was busy but manageable at the Wrentham Outlets. Drivers trying to find parking spots there followed shoppers around the lot as they walked back to their cars with bundles of bags.

The line outside the Coach store at the Wrentham Outlets Friday. (Photo by Kim Tunnicliffe)

At the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, the longest lines were at Victoria’s Secret, the Disney store and the women’s shoe department in Macy’s.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports from Braintree

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Many shoppers arrived in pajamas and said they didn’t go to sleep Thanksgiving night.

“Everyone is looking for a bargain,” Simon Malls Marketing Director Vicki Bartkiewicz told WBZ-TV. “The retailers are extremely promotional this year.”

Analysts expect to see about a four-percent growth in retail sales this season, roughly the same as last year. However, Forrester Researchers believes online sales will jump 15-percent.

Customers fighting crowds for door-buster deals said they do it mostly because it’s tradition for them

“It’s the thrill of the hunt. It’s almost like a sport,” said Lisa Burrows who made shirts and hats for the occasion.

Burrows and her mother, Isabella Coates, have been bargain hunting the day after Thanksgiving for more than 20 years. Now grandchildren and in-laws join the team, wearing softball shirts that say “Bella’s Annual Black Friday Shopping Extravaganza.”

Sister-in-law Ann Coates says the half-dozen women work together to snag the biggest deals.

“[Burrows] got one item, I got another and then [daughter] Brittany came in with the carriage. It’s a lot of strategy,” said Coates.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports from Peabody

The earlier hours and access to online shopping have helped cut down on overcrowding overall.

Many stores begin their extended holiday hours Friday so you’ll see them staying open later at night as well.

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