A record number of shoppers could head to stores across the country to take advantage of deals during the kickoff to the holiday shopping weekend, according to a report from The Associated Press.

For three days starting on Black Friday, 152 million people are expected shop, up about 10 percent from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s good news for retailers, many of which depend on the busy holiday shopping season for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue.

“It’s the literal, physical and emotional start to a very big period for us,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s president.

To draw in crowds, merchants began offering to match the prices of competitors and rolling out layaway programs. Others, like Best Buy, Abercrombie & Fitch, Target and Kohl’s, opened at midnight. The Gap and Toys R Us opened stores on Thanksgiving Day .

About 34 percent of consumers plan to shop on Black Friday, up from 31 percent last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. And more people already are shopping online. By midday on Thanksgiving, online sales were 20 percent above results from the same period a year ago, according to data from IBM Coremetrics.

Black Friday shoppers say they were lured by the deals.