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Early "Black Friday" Deals?

The traditional holiday shopping season is starting early this year, with retailers doing everything they can to lure shoppers, including offering big discounts.

"Early Show" consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen reported that stores started offering Christmas suggestions to customers back in July. But now, if you're willing to shop early, she said, retailers are making it worth your while -- with early "Black Friday" deals.

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Sears, for example, has announced it's starting "Black Friday" this Friday, nearly a month before the traditional after Thanksgiving shopping day.

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But is this really the best time to buy?

Mike Gatti, of the National Retail Federation, told CBS News, "The thing that the consumer really needs to be cautious of is if they don't go out there and buy the merchandise that they want, it might not be there."

CBS News correspondent Don Teague reported the owners of a Christmas shop in Dallas hope this year will be a recovery from last year's 18 percent drop in sales.

Peggy Chappell, of Noel Christmas Store, said, "We are seeing that people are willing to shop if they feel like they're getting a good product for a good price."

As for consumer technology, sales accounted for $7.5 billion between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, but, according to CBS News science and technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg, overall sales were down six percent in 2008.

Retailers, he said, are looking for a rebound this holiday season with digital book products, such as the new Sony E-reader and Amazon Kindle. Sieberg said as many as 3 million of these products could be sold by the end of the year.

Stores, such as Best Buy, he said are already slashing prices on personal computers to coincide with the recent launch of Windows 7, Microsoft's new operating system.

He added flat-screen television prices have dropped 27 percent since last year to $711.

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