New York - Several major retail chains have formally released their Black Friday sales circulars online.
The postings come days before the traditional unveiling of Black Friday sales in newspaper inserts on Thanksgiving Day, but a fortnight after most doorbuster deals were already leaked online.
Among those pre-announcing their Black Friday plans is Best Buy, which leads its 12-page circular with a 46-inch Samsung ToC 1080p, 120Hz LED, priced at $1,600, down from $2,600, and a Garmin Nuvi 205W for $100, down from $200.
Walmart is starting off its 32-page Black Friday circular with a 42-inch, 720p Emerson plasma TV for $448; a $78 Magnavox Blu-ray Disc player; and 46-inch, 1080p Sony Bravia LCD for $798.
As part of a new crowd-control approach, the discount chain is also posting floor plans of its stores showing where each doorbuster will be located. Black Friday shoppers are instructed to form lines at the location of their preferred doorbuster item within stores - which will be open 24 hours beginning Thanksgiving evening - rather than queuing up outside.
Also showing its Black Friday hand is Amazon.com. The e-tailer has launched a Black Friday Deals page at www.amazon.com/blackfriday that currently includes LG's 37-inch, 37LH55 1080p, 240Hz LCD for $650, down from $1,400. The company says it will be adding new sales items throughout the weak, including limited time "Lightning Deals," such as today's 7-inch handheld Viore LCD TV for $105.38 with free shipping.
In a statement, Paul Ryder, Amazon.com's electronics VP, said the company is monitoring competitors' Black Friday deals, and is "working hard to meet or beat the lowest prices out there."
Other early entrants include hhgregg, which will offer a Wii console with Wii Sports for $170 and a Toshiba Blu-ray Disc player for $80 beginning at 4 a.m. on Friday.
But for seasoned Black Friday watchers, many of the best deals were offered well in advance of Thanksgiving weekend. Sears, which is teasing its Black Friday promotion in TV spots this week, is presently selling a 54-inch Panasonic Viera S1-series 1080p plasma TV for $1,100, down from $1,800, while Sixth Avenue Electronics' pre-Black Friday deals include a Sony bundle featuring the KD40V5100 40-inch 1080p LCD and BDB-S360 Blu-ray Disc player for $854, down from $1,449.