By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Remember when Black Friday used to be the big kick-off to the holiday shopping weekend?  Well now with more and more stores opening on Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday is more like a mid-point!   So 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan offers some advice before heading out to the mall.

Black Friday will be a big deal at many stores.  Emelia Canas of Best Buy says, “We go through some rigorous training with our employees, we practice, we make sure they understand where the line is going to go for the customers.”

But an estimated 25 million Americans won’t wait for Friday, they’ll be shopping on Thanksgiving Day.  Kathy Grannis with the National Retail Federation says, “Millennials love the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving Day night.  They can leave their parents, they can ditch the pumpkin pie, escape doing the dishes, and head out with their friends to go see what kinds of deals retailers are offering.”

Most Walmart stores will be open all day Thursday with the best deals rolling out between 6 and 8 p.m.  Best Buy and JC Penney will open their doors at 5 p.m. While Target, Kohl’s and Sears are opening at 6 p.m.   Many malls will open at 6 p.m. too.  Among them, Cherry Hill, Moorestown, King of Prussia, Lehigh Valley, Montgomery, Oxford Valley, Quaker Bridge and Christiana malls.

High-end sports gear is going to be popular this year.  Lauren Blanda with City Sports says, “The trend that we saw with premium denim over the last several years where people were willing to pay 150-200 dollars for a pair of designer jeans, now we’ve seen that trend with yoga pants.”

Warm weather in October hurt fall apparel sales, so expect plenty of deals as stores try to move merchandise.

But it might be tough to find a markdown on portable exercise monitoring equipment like a Fit Bit.  Demand is high since many now link directly to a Smartphone. John Kelly with City Sports says,  “It can be your normal everyday exercise customer as well as someone who is extremely into decathlons and triathlons.”

Also particularly hot this holiday season, any merchandise related to the Disney hit movie Frozen.

If you’re doing most of your shopping online, FedEx and UPS have apps that can help you track packages.  But there are other apps too.  The Parcel app can track shipments from 240 delivery services.  While the Slice app can even notify you if a price drops allowing you to get a price adjustment.

Fore more information, visit:

http://parcelapp.net/#

https://www.slice.com/