ROCKAWAY - It's Black Friday and shoppers were out early to take advantage of big sales throughout New Jersey.

At the Rockaway Town Square Mall, shoppers say the mall was crowded when it opened at midnight, but tell News 12 New Jersey that conditions weren't as awful as they expected.

"Parking was easy," says Stephanie Fay, of Sparta. "By now, we'd usually be going home because it’s too crowded. Not this year."

Experts believe there are fewer people in the stores because of extended shopping hours.

Jennifer Bonard, of Ogdensburg, has worked in retail for more than 10 years and yesterday was the first time she's had to work Thanksgiving Day. Her employer let her bring her son and paid him for working a few hours. Her son Evan is planning to use the money he made to buy presents for others.

"I got to spend my time with him, which made it a lot better,” she says. “It's hard to leave on a holiday knowing that your family's at home."

Some who ventured out early found themselves pooped out early, like Lindsey Martinangelo, of Randolph. "We came last year at midnight and it was a madhouse so we decided to wait," she says.

Many stores offered big discounts for Black Friday, and some even offered free gifts as incentives for shoppers who spent a certain amount of money.