Retailer better prepared this Black Friday: Analyst

Retailers are more primed this year to capture Black Friday dollars than in shopping seasons past, Dana Telsey, CEO of Telsey Advisory Group, told CNBC on Friday.

Telsey ticked off a list of areas where retailers are upping their game: merchandise presentations have improved this year, sales associates are better trained and companies are linking in-store and online operations.

"We've all heard them all investing in omnichannel, but now it's coming to life. Whether it's mobile, whether it's order online, pick up in store, the omnichannel and bricks and mortar coming together, we're seeing the fruits of it this year," Telsey told "Squawk Box."

As shoppers increasingly buy online and pick up their purchasers in store, retailers can increase sales by up to 15 percent if they have both an online store and a physical location, she said.

At the same time, omnichannel remains more expensive than selling at physical stores for retailers, and threatens to put pressure on profit margins.

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Some companies are managing to protect themselves by buying inventory at a specific margin with an eye toward cutting prices later, said Telsey. Macy's, Limited Brands, Michael Kors, Nordstrom and Tiffany are doing well in this regard, she added.

Macy's is leveraging its scale in order to protect its margins, Macy's Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren, told "Squawk Box."

"We're the largest customer for every major brand that we do business with—whether it be Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein. We work with them all year round for this weekend," he said.

Some critics say opening on Thanksgiving merely spreads out the money that consumers would have spent anyway during a shorter promotion period. At the same time, retailers are spending more to stay open and taking in less due to deep discounts.

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Chief executives are split on the matter, with some saying starting promotions earlier is not additive to sales, while others believe it absolutely is, said National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay. What they agree on is that they stand to lose sales if they do not open for business along with competitors, he added.

Toys R Us, which paid workers time and a half on Thanksgiving, believes the extra cost of opening on the holiday is worth the return, the retailer's U.S. president, Hank Mullany, told "Squawk Box."

"We pay a premium, however for the consumers that we get that come in and they love it—it's about giving them what they want—we think it's good for business," said Mullany.

About 140 million Americans are expected to brave the Black Friday crowds, according to an NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

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However, more Americans planned to wait to see if doorbusters are worth it before doing so this year. Nearly 32 percent of respondents said they would preview deals before taking the plunge.

The survey indicated 67.6 million shoppers definitely plan to shop, about 2 million fewer than last year.

Though the promotional period has grown longer, more than two-thirds of committed shoppers still plan to hit the stores on Black Friday. Thursday and Friday are more important than ever because with more stores opening sooner, the drop-off on Saturday and Sunday could be more severe, Telsey said.

Online sales rose 12 percent from last year as of 9 p.m. ET on Thursday, according to IBM Digital Analytics.