Should it still be called Black Friday when big retailers such as Macy’s, Target, and Best Buy are kickstarting holiday deals well beforehand?

JCPenney rang in the holiday shopping season at 2 pm on Thursday. Within an hour and a half, it had already seen about 2,000 patrons, according to Joe Cardamone, the general manager at its Manhattan Mall location. Cardamone, who’s worked for the company 43 years, says it helps that consumers these days know what they want.

“I think the customers now are more focused on what they really want when they come in, versus years ago when we first started all of this,” he said. “Now they have their list ready to go, and when they walk in, you can tell that they have an agenda.”

To fare well with that amount of foot traffic, Cardamone says stores have to be well-stocked and the check-in, check-out process has to be seamless. He told Cheddar that employees start prepping for the highly-anticipated weekend a month in advance.

The holiday season typically starts on Thanksgiving Day, but this year, 49 percent of shoppers started their holiday shopping as early as September, according to a Nielsen report. However, Nielsen notes that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are still key days for those looking for a bargain.

About 75 percent of U.S. shoppers are planning to spend their money over this weekend and on Cyber Monday, according to Deloitte. The firm reported that shoppers will spend an average of $427 over the Thanksgiving weekend, up from $400 last year. Midwestern buyers will spend the most money this season, shelling out about $517 at the cash register.

The same report highlights that 85 percent of shoppers will be visiting brick-and-mortar stores, and 91 percent will partake in online shopping. This comes at a time when brick-and-mortar stores have been struggling to sell inventory. Recently, J.Crew announced it will be closing 50 of its stores during the 2017 fiscal year.

To compete with e-commerce --which eMarketer projects will jump 11.5 percent this holiday season to $106.97 billion-- the JCPenney leadership is focusing on consumer demands. Cardamone says new CEO Marvin Ellison’s one-on-one with customers has helped.

“That was pretty evident yesterday, how happy the customers were with what we showed them throughout the store,” he said.