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Promoting Black Friday early could eat away at retailers' profit margins, says analyst

Black Friday is becoming "Black Month" as retailers start their promotion cycles earlier and earlier in November, a move that could threaten their profit margins for the holiday shopping season, analyst Susan Anderson said Friday.

"Even though inventory's lean, I think retailers are feeling the need to promote earlier and more in order to grab that share, which I think could eat away at the margin that people are expecting," Anderson, a retail analyst at FBR, told CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

She acknowledged that the longer-than-usual holiday season this year could help overall sales, but was still concerned about the level of promotions she has seen and the depth of the discounts retailers are offering.

Anna Andreeva, a retail analyst at Oppenheimer, was slightly more optimistic about Black Friday's prospects for retailers this year.

Appearing in the interview with Anderson, Andreeva said the retail sector is poised to reclaim some of the margins lost over the past several years.

"There is a margin recapture opportunity this fourth quarter," Andreeva said. "We've had a couple of really terrible holiday seasons in a row for this sector so we are looking forward to, actually, some of that margin recapture."

Andreeva said the deeper discounts seen this year serve the consumer, who is "addicted to the deal." Still, she acknowledged that the post-Black Friday lows typically viewed in the sector could pose a challenge to retailers looking to capitalize on holiday season sales.

The Oppenheimer analyst said that she would be watching apparel to see whether there is any pent-up demand in the category. Outerwear sales will likely take a hit on account of warmer-than-usual fall temperatures, she said.

Anderson, of FBR, said that in addition to outerwear, athletic apparel sales seemed weak this year.

"Over Thanksgiving and Black Friday it seemed like athletic apparel was not as strong as we had seen over the past couple years, I think it was skewing more towards fashion apparel," she said.

Anderson said that children's retailers were also performing well this season, as those clothes are "not as susceptible to fast fashion."