Amazon beats Black Friday rush with online store

Pre-Thanksgiving sales race is on, with Dell also off to a fast start

Amazon has begun its countdown to Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving when oodles of bargains are to be had, including for the latest electronics from tablets to computers to phones and TVs.

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Beating the Black Friday rush, Amazon has already set up an online Black Friday store, where the retailer says, "Black Friday isn't until the day after Thanksgiving, but since you're here already, looking for Black Friday deals, we got the deals going a little early. We're counting down to Black Friday Deals Week with, yes, even more deals, all day, every day."

Retailers, always looking for an edge, have already started leaking or releasing Black Friday circulars, as documented on bargain hunters' websites such as BFads.net. The site has begun issuing email alerts with mammoth new toy catalogs and early deals from tech vendors such as Dell

Amazon is luring early-bird shoppers with daily deals by email and by teasing deals on its site, including those coming up and those you just missed. Amazon plans a full slate of Black Friday sales as part of its daily Gold Box and Lightning Deal promotions on Thanksgiving week, and nearer term, is already offering deals on things such as iPad screen protectors and a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX5 camera ($250, which is half price). BFads.net notes that many Lightning deals really do disappear in a flash.

As we wrote last year, retailers increasingly are making even Thanksgiving Day a big shopping day, giving prospective buyers an incentive to sneak away from the relatives, turkey and football games to do a little bit of e-commerce. And if you're not all worn out and broke by the time the weekend after Thanksgiving rolls around, retailers will be back on Cyber Monday with a slew more of bargains.

The National Retail Federation expects holiday shopping to rise 4.1% this season to $586.1 billion and says more than half of consumers plan to shop online -- a new high.

Bob Brown tracks network research in his Alpha Doggs blog and Facebook page, as well on Twitter and Google +.

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