With the down economy, this has not been a banner fall for retailers, but many are hoping to make up lost ground beginning early Friday morning -- known as Black Friday.
Some shoppers say they've already got their shopping strategies in hand for finding bargains on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
"There are a couple of things I want to get at midnight," shopper Debbie Cockrell said, adding that she plans to make two runs to Toys R Us early Friday morning. "Then there's another sale at 5 in the morning where I want to go and get a couple of things."
Cockrell's friend, Kim Brock, says the sales are not enough to lure her into a crowded mall Friday.
"I think the hustle and bustle has gotten kinda out of control on Black Friday," she said. "I love watching it on the news, everybody just rushing the stores and everything."
At Barton Creek Square in South Austin, sale signs are already up as retailers get ready to kick off the holiday season.
"This is our busiest days of the year," said Larry Rietz, general manager of the Macy's in Barton Creek Square.
He says Black Friday is so important that Macy's buyers begin planning for it almost a year in advance.
"We're very fortunate," he said. "We're in Austin, Texas, and Austin, Texas, hasn't been impacted like a lot of parts of the nation like you might hear about on the news. We have a good unemployment rate here in Austin, compared to the rest of the nation, so we're not expecting things to be too different.
"We have actually the same amount of merchandise if not more than we had last year. We're hiring as many people as we did last year, if not more," Rietz said. "So in all cases, we're expecting this to be a better holiday season than the one was last year."
And it's not just malls that benefit from the Black Friday shopping frenzy.
Mindi Partee, owner of Haven Gallery on west Sixth Street, says her gallery also does a banner business on Black Friday, even though it doesn't offer the markdowns made at big box stores.
"It's actually a pretty big day for us," she said.
"That's really when people start to think of the holidays," Partee said. "People just want to get through Thanksgiving and then get to the part where they can get to start thinking about holiday shopping."