BALTIMORE (WJZ) ―The countdown is on until some major retailers open up its doors—and its deals.

Kelly McPherson reports that shoppers in Best Buy in Arundel Mills were already lined up for a 5 a.m. opening; others were in line for the mall’s midnight opening.

Stores never open on Thanksgiving in the past were open Thursday—and many will be opening once again in less than an hour.

It’s the season of deals in the retail world. And this year they’re starting even earlier.

“This is the only shop that’s open, so this is the first stop we’ve made,” said one consumer who says she was surprised that places were open on Thanksgiving.

“For retailers this is truly their Black Friday,” said Lisa Bisenius, Towson Town Center general manager.”This is what brings them into the black, so that they’re seeing a profit for the year.  With the economy the way it’s been, it’s more crucial than ever.”

The National Federation of Retailers expects 138 million shoppers –that’s up 3 percent from last year.

Shoppers are biting–even hitting the stores open on Thursday.

“I didn’t really think anything was open last year,” said Rita Patel, shopper.

Shopping on this Thanksgiving doesn’t really look like your typical holiday shopping experience.

“Yea, there’s no one here, so it’s nice,” said Jennifer Williams, Silver Spring. “Last year there was no one here.”

“I think it’s great; low crowds, great deals,” Patel said.

“As a mall, we’re upping security, our house keeping,” Bisenius said. “We’re opening the doors at midnight on Black Friday.”

“No, I will not come out on black Friday,” one shopper said. “I’m more of a cyber Monday type.”

“My parents are from India, and they’re here this time so I just want to show them how crazy people are in the morning,” said Vishal Mehta.

So, Mehta was showing them how nutty Americans get? “Especially,” he said. “Going to go to Best Buy to show them how the people are.”

If you are not the type of person who shops on Black Friday, don’t worry. Cyber Monday will offer online deals this season.

(© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)