Nov. 25, 2010— -- 'Tis the season for big savings. Major retailers across the country enticed early holiday shoppers to line up right after their Thanksgiving dinners today to snatch up marked-down goods before they're gone.
More retailers than ever extended their sales hours into Thanksgiving Day, when stores are traditionally closed, to allow eager shoppers to shop 'til they drop.
The National Retail Federation expects about 138 million people to hunt for bargains this Black Friday, and snap up about $450 billion in merchandise.
To help navigate the catalogue pages overflowing with sales -- 200 in the Macy's book alone, for instance -- ABC News called the nation's biggest retailers to ask, "So, what's your best deal?"
The most frequent answer was only two letters-long: TV.
Customers started lining up early -- three days early -- for Best Buy's television special. Amy Adoniz, the manager of the store in New York City's Union Square, said the chain has "a great deal on a Panasonic 50-inch plasma, and it's an HD that's going to be on sale from $699.99," down from $1,000.
Walmart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said its best deal is on a 32-inch TV.
It's the "single best deal that we are really excited about at Walmart," Jariwala said. The Emerson 32-inch LCD hi-definition TV will cost $198, a price tag that's "only available at Walmart" and is "over a $100 saving off the regular price."
The deal begins 5 a.m. Black Friday, which traditionally kicks off the Christmas shopping season the day after Thanksgiving.
Perhaps one of Black Friday's biggest deals can be found at a store open this year for the first time on Thanksgiving: Sears, where Samsung 55-inch LED televisions are $1,000 off. Sears representative Richard Green said the TVs are usually priced at $2,499.
For those with holiday shopping lists comprised of low-tech gifts, Target said its best deal was a $10 bathrobe, offered half-price for a Black Friday special.
Many shoppers would rather stay in the bathrobes they already own than wait outside for hours for stores to open, and chose to shop online from home instead. Online sales on Turkey Day haven't been as impressive as years past on Cyber Monday, the marketing term for the Monday after Thanksgiving that's known for online deals.
Walmart Among Most Aggressive
Consumers spent about $300 million online on Thanksgiving last year, compared with $887 million on Cyber Monday, according to comScore.
Still, Thanksgiving global retail Internet traffic hit 1.1 million page views per minute at 11 a.m. ET today, compared with 948,054 at the same time Wednesday, according to Internet services provider Akamai Technologies Inc.'s Retail Net Usage Index.
The index tracks about 270 global retail websites.
ABC News' shopping expert Becky Worley said Walmart.com has "the most aggressive deals" this holiday season.
"They have a TV on sale today, they have a laptop bundle, they've got gaming systems," she said.
The retailer's website planned almost 150 online specials Thursday, triple the number of those it offered last year.
Worley said the site's best deal is on the Nintendo DSI, a handheld gaming system. The bundle is down from $199 to $169.
That $30 markdown may seem like spare change compared to Sears' $1,000-off door-buster, but Worley said the differences in discounts are all part of the retailers' strategies.
"Do not be confused, retailers want you in their brick and mortar stores," she said. "They want you there so you can spend money on other things. They know people are shopping online, they're going to give some discounts, but the big jaw-droppers are still in the malls."
Amazon.com, which features a countdown clock that shows how long each item is left on sale, is advertising a special Black Friday discount on one of its most popular products: the Kindle e-reader.
"Starting on Black Friday at 9 a.m. Pacific, the Kindle 2 -- the older model, in limited quantity -- is going on sale for $89," Worley said, "and that's a steal."
For Worley, the hottest gadget this year is Microsoft's Kinect gaming system for the XBox 360.
"There's only one deal, anywhere," on the Kinect, both in-stores and online for $30 off the entire system, Worley said.
"It's the must-have item, it might sell out."
Although it's still an uneasy economic climate, many retailers said they're counting on shoppers' experiencing something called "frugality fatigue," meaning they're tired of pinching pennies and have the urge to splurge, if only just a little.
The National Retail Federation has forecast a 2.3 percent increase in sales for November and December, up from 0.4 percent a year before.
One shopper in Chicago said she's "a little optimistic."
"I've been able to save and spend more this year," she said, "but I haven't made up my mind if I'm going to spend more or less."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.