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Black Friday 2011: Will The Deals Stack Up? (PHOTOS)
Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving Day, marks the frantic beginning of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, major retailers open early in the morning, offering promotional sales and deep discounts. The effect: thousands willing to line-up and push their way through crowds at the chance to get the best deals of the year. Shockingly, shoppers have been so fierce that some have even been trampled to death during the openings

While the name "Black Friday" is often believed to originate from the day when retailers turned from unprofitable (red) to profitable (black), it was actually first coined in Philadelphia nearly half a century ago. The Philadelphia police department used it to describe the misery of the day's crowd and subsequent traffic jam – a seemingly more fitting description. 

The real mystery now is how will Black Friday stack up against past years? Analysts are expecting one of the most busiest Fridays after Thanksgiving in years. Which is a relief to retailers, who saw slow Black Fridays during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009.

While Black Friday is a major influence on retail performance, it is "Cyber Monday" – the Monday of online shopping when employees return to work – that has become a new barometer of retail performance. 

So before you choose to spend your holiday dollars this year, take time to familiarize yourself with Black Friday in photos.   

Editor's note: Photos will be updated as 2011 images are filed. 

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Shoppers in search of Black Friday bargains wait for the doors of Macy's to open at 5a.m. ET in New York November 27, 2009.

(Finbarr O'Reilly - AFP/Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise on November 25, 2011 in Naples, United States.

(Spencer Platt - AFP/Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise on November 25, 2011 in Naples, United States.

(Spencer Platt - AFP/Getty Images)
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Shoppers are let into Toys"R"Us 2 hours before the start of Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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A sales clerk at the Best Buy electronics store counts money for a purchase in Westbury, New York November 27, 2009.

(Shannon Stapleton - AFP/Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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Shoppers are seen from below a glass staircase of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue on Black Friday November 27, 2009 in New York City.

(David Goldman - AFP/Getty Images)
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Shoppers rush through the doors of Macy's at 5a.m. ET in search of Black Friday bargains in New York, November 27, 2009.

(Finbarr O'Reilly - AFP/Getty Images)
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Lauren Arnold reads a book in her tent as she lines ups with others outside a BestBuy store in Laurel, Maryland, on November 25, 2010 for "Black Friday" shopping.

(Jewel Samad - AFP/Getty Images)
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Black Friday bargain hunters shop for discounted merchandise at Toys R' Us, which opened at 9PM Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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Tired shopper Victoria Caruthers (L) gets a ride from her friend Streven Johnson (R), both from Washington, DC after spending a few hours in a Toys-R-US store November 23, 2007 in Clinton, Maryland.

(Tim Sloan - AFP/Getty Images)
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Shoppers pass by mannequins on the shop floor of Macy's in search of Black Friday bargains in New York November 27, 2009.

(Finbarr O'Reilly - AFP/Getty Images)
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Customers use the escalators at the West Acres Mall JCPenney store on November 25, 2011 in Fargo, North Dakota. The store originally advertised opening at 4 a.m., but opened at 2:30 a.m. because of the number of people already shopping in the West Acres mall due to 31 stores opening at midnight.

(Chris Franz - AFP/Getty Images)
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Customers carry on-sale items ranging from toys to kitchen appliances at the West Acres Mall JCPenney store on November 25, 2011 in Fargo, North Dakota.

(Chris Franz - AFP/Getty Images)
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A girl sleeps as her father shops for Black Friday bargains at the Glendale Galleria shopping mall in Glendale, California on November 27, 2009.

(Robyn Beck - AFP/Getty Images)
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Richard Kiley, 47, from Boston, Massachusetts, asks to see jewelry at Macy's on November 28, 2008 in New York City.

(Yana Paskova - AFP/Getty Images)
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Children wait with shopping bags inside Macy's department store on "Black Friday" shopping day November 26, 2010 in New York City.

(Chris Hondros - AFP/Getty Images)
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Joe Hallock (left) and Aaron Green wait outside Scheels All Sports in thermal sleeping bags hours before the store opens at 7a.m. on November 25, 2011 in Fargo, North Dakota.

(Chris Franz - AFP/Getty Images)
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November 25, 2011 in Fargo, North Dakota.

(Chris Franz - AFP/Getty Images)
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Children touch a lighted map of the world inside FAO Schwarz the day after its grand re-opening November 26, 2004 in New York City.

(Mario Tama - AFP/Getty Images)
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Ceilene Gonzalez, 6-years-old, carries a bag with toys as she shops with her mother at the Toys "R" Us in Times Square November 23, 2007 in New York City.

(Hiroko Masuike - AFP/Getty Images)
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Customers run through the entrance to Scheels All Sports when the doors are opened at 7 a.m. on 'Black Friday,' on November 25, 2011 in Fargo, North Dakota.

(Chris Franz - AFP/Getty Images)
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An unidentified man carries a Yamaha portable grand piano he just purchased on Black Friday at the Fair Lakes Best Buy store November 25, 2011 in Fairfax, Virginia.

(Paul J. Richards - AFP/Getty Images)
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Best Buy employee Will Awood looks out at a crowd of shoppers that have waited in line for over 15 hours to shop at the Best Buy the day after Thanksgiving November 24, 2006 in Hobart, Indiana.

(Tasos Katopodis - AFP/Getty Images)
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Danijay Fortune (C), 5, and her mother Deshonia Fortune wait in line to get into Toys"R"Us on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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A man mops the floor inside Toys"R"Us before the store opened on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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Customers look at a selection of plasma flat screen television sets at Best Buy electronics store on November 27, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.

(Tom Pennington - AFP/Getty Images)
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A shopper carries a stack of Toy Story 3 toys at Toys"R"Us on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2010 in New York City.

(Michael Nagle - AFP/Getty Images)
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A shopper holds his coffee cup with his teeth as he uses both hands to open the catalogue at Toys R Us on Black Friday in New York November 26, 2010.

(Jessica Rinaldi - AFP/Getty Images)
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Children sleep in their strollers at Toys R Us on Black Friday in New York November 26, 2010.

(Jessica Rinaldi - AFP/Getty Images)
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An empty shelf is seen at Toys "R" Us in Times Square at 6:00 A.M., an hour after the store was opened, November 23, 2007 in New York City.

(Hiroko Masuike - AFP/Getty Images)
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