Retailers facing the shortest holiday season in years are hitting customers with deals and promotions this week, before they have even digested their Halloween candy.
Wal-Mart Stores is kicking off its online deals on Friday, a month earlier than usual, underscoring worries that intense discounting aimed at luring budget-conscious shoppers could result in the most tepid holiday spending rise in four years.
Retailers have traditionally kicked off the all-important holiday shopping season on or the day after Thanksgiving and saved some of their best online deals for "Cyber Monday," the Monday after Thanksgiving when workers return to offices and use computers to make holiday purchases.
This year, the holiday falls on Nov. 28, leaving only 27 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, prompting many retailers to jump the gun on incentives.
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