Black Friday: Deep discounts coming

Ad showing Sears' planned sales for the day after Thanksgiving include a Kenmore washer-dryer set for $600, up to 60% off on clothing and bargains on flatscreen TVs.

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By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com senior writer

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Judging from a leaked ad for day-after-Thanksgiving sales, major stores will tempt shoppers - whose help is desperately needed to bolster the economy - with huge discounts.

Brad Olson, founder of Gottadeal.com, a Web site that markets itself as one of many "official" Black Friday deals sites, said he recently received a copy of Sears' circular.

His reaction: "The deals are definitely better than last year."

That's not surprising given that most retailers -including Sears - have struggled all year with slumping sales amid a weak economy. Retailers are counting on a spending pick-up in the weeks ahead to salvage their year.

Sears, in a statement late Monday, said it was aware that its day after-Thanksgiving specials "are already creating tremendous buzz online" and that consumers should expect more deals to follow.

Black Friday - which falls on Nov. 28 this year - is one of the busiest shopping days for the nation's retailers. It also sets the tone for the November-December holiday shopping period, which can account for more than half of merchants' annual profits and sales.

Consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of the nation's economy.

Details about Black Friday sales, which Sears (SHLD, Fortune 500), Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500) and other retailers typically don't officially unveil until mid-November, are awaited with great expectation by consumers.

Among the surprises in Sears' ad are "doorbuster" deals, offered for a limited number of hours, on home appliances such as washer-dryers, a category that the retailer hasn't heavily promoted in the past.

According to the ad, Sears will offer early-bird shoppers a Kenmore high efficiency front-load washer-dryer set for $599.99 on Black Friday. That's as much as 50% off the price of the individual washer and dryer.

"This really is an incredible deal, and it indicates how nervous retailers are about the season," said Britt Beemer, retail analyst and chairman of America's Research Group.

The ad indicates the department store chain is also slashing clothing prices by as much as 50% to 60%, and has set doorbuster sales on flatscreen TVs such as a Panasonic Viera 42-inch 720P for $699.99, down from its original price of $999.99, and a Samsung Blu-Ray disc player for $199.99.

"If retailers don't have shoppers bursting through their doors on Black Friday then they'll be in big trouble by the end of January," said Beemer.

Even with Sears' hefty discounts, Beemer said it's Wal-Mart's Black Friday discounts that he and many other consumers will be waiting for.

"Wal-Mart's prices will set the floor on where prices will be on toys, electronics and other holiday items," he said. To top of page

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