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OMG! Xmas Sales Are Starting Already

Take off that Sarah Palin mask and get your shop on because retailers are desperate this year and they've rolled out some hefty sales before the first little pirate or princess even hits the doorbell.

Typically, retailers don’t start slashing prices until well into November and don’t really crank up the savings until the final weeks before Christmas. But between Wal-Mart slashing toy prices in Octoberand worries about consumers snapping shut their pocketbooks, this is a very different holiday season.

"This is going to be an aggressive, very promotional, very early holiday season," said Erin Hershkowitz, a spokeswoman for the International Council of Shopping Centers. "Retailers are expecting a slow season this year, so they're keeping their inventories tight and promoting early."

It's going to be like the promotions you see on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Hershkowitz said — only earlier. "Instead of just on the one day, we're going to see these kind of promotions through the month of November.

We're seeing a lot of one-day sales, as retailers dip their pinky toe in the sales waters, but there are also a bunch of multi-day events extending into the holiday weekend.

Here’s a sampler pack of this week’s offerings:

In an email blast earlier this week, SmartBargains.comwrote: “Hey, Bargainista, We’re about to close the gates on bargain euphoria. Don’t get caught on the outside.” The email-only offer included some swank deals that were expiring at midnight that day, including $40 for 600-thread-count sheets and a 7.5-foot Christmas tree with 700 lights more than half off at $170.

Women’s apparel chain New York & Co. opted to skip the all-the-cool-kids-are-doing-it routine and just came right out and called the season as it sees it: “Take $30 off your purchase of $75 or more during our HALF CRAZY SALE!” the e-mail blast read. Of course that works out to about 40-percent off but the “half” in half crazy was that the chain was also offering buy one get one half off on most items in the store.

Even upscale retailers are getting in on the act: Bluefly.com is offering a barrage of one-day specials, with e-mail pitches such as: “OMG, we just took an extra 30 percent off all sale items!” The next day they had 15-percent off cashmere (For the uninitiated, cashmere is a huge holiday item and you don’t see sales in the category until about December.)

Lord & Taylor’s site is a collage of sales offering up to 30 percent on some items, including coats and gloves. They’re also offering 15-percent off cashmere.

Neiman Marcus is slashing prices by a whopping 40 percent in a three-day event through Saturday.

And, don’t wait for the turkey — some stores are having doorbuster sales this weekend:

JCPenney is having doorbusters 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, with extra coupons in its circulars for $10 and $15 off a single purchase of a certain value. For the interactive circular, check jcp.com/storeads.

Sears is having a “Super Saturday” sale, including 50 to 60 percent off clothing and up to 25 percent off when you buy three or more Kenmore appliances over $399. (www.sears.com/supersaturday)

OMG, if the deals are this good now, can you imagine what they'll be on Black Friday?

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Questions? Comments? retaildetail@cnbc.com

Retail

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