Nov. 27, 2008 -- One thing consumers can be thankful for this holiday season are the deeply discounted prices retailers are using to court them in hopes of boosting sales.
"They're pulling out all the stops, offering unprecedented deals. Bottom line: they don't want to be stuck with excess inventory. [It's] a rough time for retailers, [but] good for consumers," said consumer adviser Regina Lewis on "Good Morning America" today.
With Black Friday only a day away, some shoppers already have their game plans ready to tackle the best deals for the unofficial start of the holiday season. Lewis said Thanksgiving is the time to map everything out.
"Today is the day to do your homework. Price, comparison shop. That single step can save you on average 35 percent per item," she said.
Some stores already have publicized their deals.
"Best Buy is going to have an HP laptop, bundled with a printer, for under $400. That's unprecedented. Circuit City, we know they're in trouble, is almost giving away DVDs and CDs for $3." Circuit City is under bankruptcy protection, so Lewis cautions that it may be difficult to return merchandise there.
"Home Depot [is] discounting tools by some 70 percent. Target, taking names like Guitar Hero, knocking off $30 or $40," she said.
Lewis also suggested going online today to see the various offers stores are offering. And if it turns out the item is cheaper down the street, Lewis said don't be afraid to bargain with retailers.
"A lot of store managers are being told some margin is better than no margins. You're not being difficult. You're being smart and you have the information," she said.
But it's not only in brick and mortar locations where you'll find deals. Online outlets like Amazon are aiming to woo consumer too with concessions like free shipping, which is the single most effective promotion on the Web.
Finally, Lewis advises that if it's on your list and you see a good deal on Friday, purchase it.
"It's less want-timing and more about paring down your list. If you see it on your list, I would grab it. They're managing inventory so closely, you could get shut out," she said.