By Brooke Rogers

DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – ‘Tis the season to spend, and shoppers are back in the stores this year. But experts say consumers actually kicked off the season well before Black Friday.

“We had great traffic over Black Friday weekend, but we actually have seen record number of shoppers in the shopping center in the two weekends leading up to Black Friday weekend. So holiday sales are happening earlier,” said Holly Quartaro, Fashion and Lifestyle Director for the Galleria Dallas.

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Black Friday traffic in stores was down nearly 30% from 2019, according to Sensormatic Global Retail Consulting.

Senior Director Brian Field said shoppers are more enthusiastic about shopping in stores than they were last year.

He said while shoppers are still concerned about the pandemic, increases in online shopping and hybrid shopping, like curbside pickup, contribute to the data.

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He also said consumers started shopping earlier this year and opted not to wait for sales because of supply chain concerns.

At the Galleria Dallas, the hours are shorter than in past seasons, but the holiday shopping started earlier than ever before.

Black Friday shoppers at Dallas Galleria (Credit: CBSDFW.COM)

“We kind of knew early on that Black Friday has turned into more of a shopping season than a single day.”

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Experts say for the entire holiday season, which runs eight weeks, they expect traffic in stores to be down around 15 to 20% compared to 2019.