Retailers have stepped up their Black Friday efforts this year in an attempt to attract more shoppers to their stores during the US’s biggest shopping weekend beginning today.

Department store group JC Penney (pictured) is offering more than 100 deals, an increase of 15% compared with last year. Walmart is also offering hundreds of deals on toys, electronics and apparel, and plans to keep the majority of its discount stores open for 24 hours in order to control crowds.

Last year, more than 172 million shoppers visited stores and websites during the long Thanksgiving weekend, spending an average $372 (£228) per person, according to the National Retail Federation.