Stores will open earlier than ever on Black Friday, with midnight openings becoming more common, the AP reports. Wal-Mart, in fact, began its sales today. "You sell two sweaters and you've broken even,” said one analyst. But Gap chief Glenn Murphy will be out with the hordes, then crunching numbers. “There is a point from an industry perspective where you get diminishing returns.”
Even if the numbers are lackluster, stores get invaluable publicity, the AP notes. The Gap is one of many retailers that will open at midnight. Target, meanwhile, opens at 6, Circuit City and Best Buy at 5, and JC Penneys at 4. Economists will be keeping an eye on sales to gauge consumer confidence.