If orange is the new black, it would appear that 50 is the new 40—percent off, that is.
As shoppers gassed up their cars and fired up their computers, mobile phones and tablets in search of Thanksgiving and Black Friday deals, they were met by deep price cuts of 50 percent off the entire store at retailers ranging from discounters such as Old Navy; the teen segment's American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister; the fashion-forward but perpetually marked-down Express; and Gap.
(Read more: Live blog from Black Friday)
Some analysts have called it the most promotional environment since 2008.
"I think it's a season of urgency," said Dana Telsey, CEO and chief research officer at Telsey Advisory Group, noting the six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. "Retailers are planning to make every big day even bigger."
And the deals are not exclusive to the physical stores.
Savings.com CEO Loren Bendele said his website saw a 70 percent increase in deals on Black Friday last year and is expecting to see a similar jump this year. As more people opt to get away from the chaos of Black Friday events and go for convenience, there are more online deals than ever, he said.
Akamai Technologies saw a similar trend, reporting that Thanksgiving Day traffic at the websites of 96 of the top 100 U.S. retailers rose 21 percent on the year, and has already far surpassed last year's Cyber Monday peak.
"There are just too many retailers selling too many things, and consumers are tight and smart, and well-armed with information right now," Bendele said.
Based on experts' early store checks and online traffic, the following retailers have been identified by analysts as early winners and losers of the Thanksgiving and Black Friday megaweekend, which the National Retail Federation predicts will attract some 140 million shoppers.
"By all appearances and according to CEOs I've spoken with across the retail spectrum, it looks like the early opening of stores on Thanksgiving and the traditional start of holiday shopping on Black Friday is breaking new records, including what companies are seeing through their digital channels," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
Macy's—The mid-tier department store announced on Friday that 15,000 people waited outside its Herald Square flagship for the store's 8 p.m. Thursday opening.
"The key is they're going in and they're getting the marketshare, and they're not letting it walk out the door," said SW Retail Advisors' Stacey Widlitz.
Best Buy—Widlitz said she was one of 300 people waiting in line to enter the specialty electronics store for its 6 p.m. Thursday opening, and said the deals are not only great, but so is the customer service.
"The salespeople actually know what they're talking about," she said.
(Read more: Game on for a retooled Best Buy)
Abercrombie & Fitch—Citi analyst Oliver Chen noted strong traffic and attractive product at the teen retailer, which has struggled to strike a note with its clientele over the past few years. In a research note, he reported an average 45-minute wait at the register in stores in three Northeast areas.
Hollister—Chen's note said the merchandise at Abercrombie's lower-priced counterpart also looked on-trend, with moderate traffic and a 10- to 15-minute wait at the register.
Kohl's—Stifel Nicolaus analyst Richard Jaffe said stores were very busy and customers waited for doorbusters.
Aéropostale—Pamela Quintiliano, director, specialty retail at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, said that while teen retailers Abercrombie and Hollister were some of the most crowded stores she checked in the mall, Aéropostale didn't open until midnight and, as a result, it didn't get the traffic.
J.C. Penney—Sozzi noted that while the retailer, which had been heavily discounting ahead of Black Friday, had good traffic, shoppers were not carrying bags, indicating many were leaving empty-handed. The struggling home department remained quiet, he said.
(Read more: J.C. Penney's $1.97 pants could spoil Christmas)
Chico's—Jaffe's team observed weak traffic at the store, noting that Black Friday shoppers tend to be women shopping for others, rather than for themselves.
Wal-Mart—The world's largest retailer announced on Friday that it logged more than 10 million transactions between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, when its in-store Black Friday sales kicked off. Online, its one-hour guarantee items saw so much traffic that it needed to create a virtual waiting room for shoppers.
But the retailer's public image took a big hit, as headlines populated the Web about planned nationwide protests over its wages. In Chicago 10 people, including two employees, were arrested outside of a Walmart store while protesting.
—By CNBC's Krystina Gustafson. Follow her on Twitter
@KrystinaGustafs.CNBC's Phil LeBeau contributed to this report.