By Howard Monroe

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (CBS) — Shoppers packed into stores and malls across the Philadelphia region on this Black Friday. Eyewitness News was at the Cherry Hill Mall on Friday morning as they opened its doors.

“This is just a tradition we do every year,” Lee Gitzes, a Black Friday shopper, said.

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Traditions continue.

(Credit: CBS3)

Black Friday kicked off dark and early at 6 a.m. with shoppers eager to get a deal at the Cherry Hill Mall.

“I actually love it the most, I think, because I’ll get up for this because it’s just really fun,” shopper Ava Friedrichs said.

Retailers are banking on people showing up in person this holiday shopping season.

Last year, people mainly shopped online because of the pandemic. The National Retail Federation says supply chain issues could also encourage people to shop in person.

“Shop early if you have the must-have wish list gift item, shop early and come in person and shop the mall,” Lisa Wolstromer, senior marketing director of the Cherry Hill Mall, said.

Wolstromer said it will be one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

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“It is Black Friday, our retailers have a lot of great deals and promotions, and consumers are ready to come back to in-person shopping,” she said. “Also, shopping early this year because of supply chain issues, so we expect today to be a very busy day.”

Wolstromer said things have definitely changed when it comes to post-Thanksgiving shopping.

“Retailers were closed yesterday, and the past couple of years they’ve been open on Thanksgiving which shifted Black Friday shopping,” she said. “But because they were closed yesterday and people want to get their holiday shopping done early this year, we do expect Black Friday to be more traditional than it has been in the past.”

The National Retail Federation is expecting this year to be a record-breaking holiday season.

Americans are expected to spend $28.1 billion, the highest since 2018.

But shoppers say what really matters is the tradition.

“Being together and the sales and shopping, my favorite things,” Heather Friedrichs said.

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The mall opened at 6 a.m. and will close at 10 p.m.