It is the Super Bowl of shopping. And much like the National Football League's annual championship showdown, those known for scoring on Black Friday will tell you to be successful, you have to have a game plan.

From electronics and housewares to clothing and perfume, it is easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of Black Friday's savings opportunities.

To make this year's shopping spree a success, area retailers are urging shoppers to make a plan before tackling the post-Thanksgiving crowd and pay close attention to sale hours and be aware that the early bird does get the worm. 

Wal-Mart SuperCenter

Wal-Mart's seasonal shopping circular, inserted inside the Empire-Tribune today, is made up of almost 30 pages of hot buys for the holidays. As in previous years, electronics appear front and center, but Gary Smith, manager of Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Stephenville, explained while televisions, Blu-ray disc players and video games may be the most sought after gifts, they will not be the first to hit the Black Friday sales floor.

Smith said Wal-Mart will honor electronics specials from 5-11 a.m. Friday while savings in other departments, including toys, clothing and housewares can be found just after midnight.

Smith said the theory behind the game change is to even out the playing field to allow more money-conscious consumers to get in on the savings since many are not prepared to face the bargain hungry masses at 5 a.m.

In regards to formulating a savings strategy, Smith said in the current economic climate, it makes sense to plan ahead. He said knowing your budget and taking time to know what savings are on the shelves prior to entering the store will help save time and money.

To help pre-plan your Wal-Mart shopping experience, a map of the local store and approximate location of several Black Friday deals can be found online at walmart.com.

Gifford TV & Electronics

Gifford, a hometown business, takes a different approach when it comes to Black Friday savings, according to Chris Gifford. He said the family-operated business does not offer gimmicks or sales that create a mad rush to the register.

Gifford began offering holiday deals on Nov. 1 and savings will continue through the end of the month. And while many of the sales have been advertised locally, there are many deals that can only be found by visiting the electronics retailer.

"This is the biggest time of year for TV sales," Gifford said. "There are a lot of instant rebates available."

In addition, Gifford encourages consumers looking to find the perfect fit for their families' viewing to take part in the Mitsubishi Big Picture Tour. The manufacturer's mobile showroom will be at Gifford on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. Mitsubishi representatives will be on hand to answer questions relevant to their products, which can be purchased at Gifford.

Plus, special factory savings will be available Friday and Saturday.

Giffords will open at 8 a.m. Friday.

Sears

According to Luke Mix, Sears will open at 4 a.m. Friday. Special deals can be found inside today's Empire-Tribune, including doorbusters that will greet early bird shoppers and continue until noon.

Mix also said the Stephenville location, which offers electronics, appliances and an array of tools, will offer the "best deals ever seen on Black Friday" on select appliances. The store will have several half-price deals on front-load washers and dryers, and 50-percent savings will also be found on tools.

Finally, Mix said several special savings will be extended to Saturday shoppers.

Hastings

According to Hastings Entertainment manager Tonya Bounds-Vaughn, the Stephenville store will continue with the company's annual tradition of opening its doors for Thanksgiving.

Vaughn said coupons that will be valid today only, will allow shoppers to cash in on movie and video game rental savings in an effort to battle post-feast boredom. Hastings will be open from 1-8 p.m. today.

The store will be open 8 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

A cornucopia of savings from a number of local retailers can be found inside the Empire-Tribune Thursday, including JC Penney, Staples, Radio Shack, Walgreen's, CVS, Dowell Ace Hardware, Higginbothams and Bramlett Implement.

Don't forget to shop locally. Erath County is home to a number of specialty shops and boutiques that will also have a galore of gift-giving options in store.