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Thanksgiving deals called the best

The Associated Press
ThanksgivingSalesJPEG03951
FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, file photo, watches are on display at Kmart in New York. The Friday after Thanksgiving has long been the day to grab the best bargains of the holiday shopping season. But new data from various companies that track the specials now say Thanksgiving is taking that crown, at least online. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

NEW YORK — Thanksgiving could be the best day to shop all year.

An analysis of sales data and store circulars by two research firms contradicts conventional wisdom that Black Friday is when shoppers can get the most and biggest sales of the year.

Turns out, shoppers will find more discounted items in stores that are open on Thanksgiving. For example, there are a total of 86 laptops and tablets deeply discounted as “door buster” deals at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others on the holiday compared with just nine on Black Friday, according to an analysis of promotions for The Associated Press by researcher MarketTrack.

And on the Web, discounts will be deeper on the holiday. Online prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be about 24 percent cheaper, compared with 23 percent on Black Friday and 20 percent on Cyber Monday, according to Adobe, which tracks data on 4,500 retail websites.

The data is the latest proof that retailers are slowly redefining the Black Friday tradition. It’s been the biggest shopping day of the year for years, mostly because it’s traditionally when retailers pull out their best sales events. But in the past few years, retailers such as Gap, Target and Toys R Us have started opening their stores and offering holiday discounts on Thanksgiving to better compete with online rivals.

“I was surprised, but it really shifted one day,” said Tamara Gaffney, principal analyst at Adobe, which is based in San Jose, Calif.

Shoppers are noticing the deals on Thanksgiving. Corey Grassell, 34, of Appleton, Wis., said he plans to shop for deals on Thanksgiving and bypass Black Friday. That’s after he grabbed bargains last year on the holiday, including a washer-dryer combination at Sears for about $800, a 50 percent discount.

“I feel guilty for going out on Thanksgiving, but the deals are so much more attractive to me than on Black Friday,” he said.

But some industry watchers fear others won’t shop on Thanksgiving, choosing to keep the day sacred. Those who wait instead to shop on Black Friday could wind up being disappointed with the leftover deals, they say. In fact, according to Deloitte Research’s recent survey of shoppers, about two-thirds say they’re not motivated to go out to stores on Thanksgiving because it’s important to be with family and friends.

“Shoppers could be disappointed and find that the hot items on their list are not in stock on Black Friday because of the early push by retailers,” said Traci Gregorski, MarketTrack’s vice president of marketing.

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