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Black Friday, the biggest US shopping "holiday", kicked off with expectations that lower gasoline prices and higher consumer confidence could mean better year-end retail sales than last year. The buying frenzy started early, turning Thursday's Thanksgiving Day holiday into what the industry has begun calling "Gray Thursday". Big retail chains like Walmart, Target and Macy's opened their doors at 6:00 pm (0100 GMT Friday) in hopes of boosting their weekend sales, even before many Americans had finished the traditional turkey holiday feast. Walmart and Target boasted that the strategy was a success, saying they were swamped with customers -- without saying how many.