Deal-Hunters Can Avoid Early Black Friday Crush

For die-hard shoppers, Black Friday cannot come soon enough.

Millions of Americans will hit the malls or surf online retail Web sites this Friday, Saturday and Sunday for deals on electronics, toys, apparel and housewares.

Black Friday no longer begins the day after Thanksgiving; many retailers have started opening their doors to customers a little earlier every November and this year is no exception. Stores including Target, Toys "R" Us, Sears and Wal-Mart have decided to commence the shopping festivities on Thanksgiving evening, prompting some analysts to refer to the night as "Black Friday Eve."

The early push stems from the increased competition brick-and-mortar stores face from their online counterparts, says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group. There are plenty of Americans willing to wake up before dawn Friday for "doorbuster" sales, but choosing to open when many Americans are still eating their Thanksgiving dinners could backfire for retailers.

"Retailers are taking a big experiment this year," Cohen says in an interview with The Daily Ticker. "If customers do come in, [retailers] will do it again next year. Basically this is about retailers trying to get into the 21st century."

According to Cohen, 12 percent of Americans partake in Black Friday shopping. He expects luxury retailers and big-box chains such as Wal-Mart and Target to score big with customers this holiday season.

Related: Wal-Mart Workers Threaten Protests on Black Friday

And what about those individuals who choose to stay home and avoid the Black Friday craziness? They'll still find good deals, Cohen says.

"If you're not really in the sport of shopping, don't bother," advises Cohen. "Other stores with the same product will have the same kinds of deals. You can get good deals all year long if you do a little homework."

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