Black Friday Starts Now for Savvy Shoppers

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If you love Black Friday bargains, but hate the idea of pre-dawn lines, surly shoppers, and the risk of bodily harm just to score a bargain Blu-ray player or Xbox console, major U.S. retailers have an alternative: Why not shop early? Some pre-Black Friday sales start Saturday, Nov. 7. Start brewing the coffee now.

The early sales from JCPenney, Sears, Target, and Wal-Mart are designed to drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores and retail websites--and possibly entice consumers to start their holiday shopping a little early. Some big box retailers, including Best Buy and Wal-Mart, offered pre-Black Friday loss-leaders last year too.

If you'd rather not leave the house, Kmart's "Better than Black Friday" online extravaganza kicked off today, and runs every Friday through Nov. 20.

" 'Black Friday' has become a buzzword. People associate it with really good deals," says Michael Brim, founder and president of BFAds, a site that sends subscribers email messages about Black Friday bargains.

At a typical pre-Black Friday sale, such as Sears' "Black Friday Now" event that starts Saturday, Nov. 7 at 7 a.m., retailers trot out "maybe two or three Black Friday store-busters," Brim says.

This year's best tech bargain? According to BFAds, Wal-Mart is effectively selling an Xbox 360 Arcade console for just $100. While the advertised price is $199, the retailer is giving away a $100 gift card with each Xbox 360 Arcade purchase. "Consoles have a minimum advertised price," says Brim. "Retailers can't advertise anything lower than that."

Other pre-Black Friday tech bargains (courtesy BFAds) include:

HP 15.6" Laptop w/ 2.2GHz Processor (G60-W519WM) - $298 (Wal-Mart)

Zenith 42" 720p Plasma HDTV - $499.99 (Sears)

Sylvania 32" 720p LCD HDTV - $349.99 (Kmart)

Sharp 42" 1080p LCD TV (LC42SB45UT) - $498 (Wal-Mart)

If you try to land these bargains, remember to wear protective gear--and don't forget your stun gun.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

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