Black Friday: Not just the day after Thanksgiving anymore

In preparation for the infamous, unofficial shopping day known as Black Friday, many consumers often make a list and check it at least twice weeks in advance.

The trouble is, people who wait until Black Friday often miss out on the best deals, retail analyst Stacey Widlitz told CNBC this week.

Many shoppers eagerly anticipate the day after Thanksgiving, with groups of friends getting together early in the morning, sometimes at even 5 a.m. They grab coffee and wait outside in the cold, hoping to snag special promotions and steep discounts.

This year, however, new trends may spell the beginning of the end to the spectacle known as Black Friday. Retailers are offering deals way in advance, and more companies are using their websites to offer bargain-basement deals—a bonus for those seeking to avoid the crowds.

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"Last year Macy's made their best deals available days before Thanksgiving and so did Best Buy. I'd bet they do it again," she said on CNBC's "Street Signs."

And don't forget, "Target began offering some Black Friday deals this week," added Widlitz. In a similar vein, retail giant Walmart also unveiled plans to offer an early bird special on discounts.

Black Friday deals oftentimes involve very limited quantities, Widlitz added. "I surveyed people last year who waited in line for a promotion. There were only 100 available and these people were No. 130 in line."

Not only were these shoppers disappointed, they failed to realize some Black Friday deals are really intended to grab your attention. Unless you're willing to wait on long lines, it's unlikely you'll actually get the item at the price.

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All told, the takeaway for shoppers is fairly simple. Many retailers make their best deals available long before Black Friday, so the best bargains can be found well in advance.

"Don't wait," Widlitz added. "If you do, you may miss some of the best offers."