The holiday shopping season is officially underway

NEW YORK — Millions of Americans are flooding retailers to cash in on big deals this Black Friday. Consumers spent more than $1.5 billion online by Thanksgiving evening and they didn’t just splurge online.

At stores across the country, shoppers arrived early to brave the lines and the crowds.

In Los Angeles, shoppers took advantage of deals of 50 and 60 percent off at one outlet mall.

Nearby at Toys ‘R’ Us, one woman gave us a look at her radically reduced receipt.

“It would normally be $700 but saved four. So just three hundred.”

In Houston, Texas Black Friday has shaped up to be an emotional day for families trying to replace items lost in the hurricane.

“Just to have a house back, see my son happy for Christmas. See my dad and my mom and my husband. You know? I’m grateful to have them here. That’s what I’m really happy about.”

Industry experts said this one day shopping extravaganza has really been going on all month. Retailers offer constant discounts to get people through their doors and spending cash.

“The reality is brick and mortar retail is still the dominant part of retail,” said Lee Holman, the lead retail analyst with The IHL Group.

And its not just clothing and electronic stores getting in on the action. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, people braved the cold for Black Friday beer. The brewery only offers this special brew one day a year.

According to the National Retail Federation, about 70% of Americans, an estimated 164 million people, are planning to shop or considering shopping between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday.