HOUSTON -

Thousands of Houstonians got an early start on their holiday shopping after some stores opened Thanksgiving night for Black Friday bargains.

Walmart opened at 10 p.m. Thursday and offered doorbuster deals on toys, home accessories and clothing to lure in shoppers. However, low-priced electronics were not offered until 12 a.m. Friday.

Toys R Us opened its doors at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Hundreds of people were lined up for hours before the doors opened.

Midnight was the new opening bell for some of the biggest retailers. Best Buy, Macy's, Target and Kohl's all welcomed die-hard shoppers at 12 a.m. -- the earliest they have ever opened for the busiest shopping day of the year.

The manager of the Best Buy store near the Galleria said 3,600 people were in line when the store opened.

"It was absolutely worth it," shopper Peter Loftspring said. "You come, you get it done, we'll go have breakfast. We are done."

Many of those hundreds of people who lined up outside Best Buy wanted to get a 42-inch TV that retails for $500 on sale for $199. Most stores quickly sold out of them.

Apple discounted some of its products on Black Friday.

"Apple doesn't go down on their products for any special reasons, but they did today," shopper James Vera said."If we're going to buy them, might as well buy them today.

Sears and JC Penney opened at 4 a.m., as it has done in the past.

"Boots for $29.99 at JC Penney and all kinds of stuff," one shopper said.

Mall parking lots across the city were packed throughout the day.

Many shoppers said they were out at midnight and into the afternoon.

"There's lots of sales going on. You have to be here to get them or you lose out," one shopper said.

Black Friday can bring in big bucks for retailers, even during a recession.

The average American spent $365.34 on Black Friday in 2010, with overall sales adding up to $45 billion, according to the National Retail Federation.