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Analysts: Stores May Cut Back On Black Friday Specials

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Consumers likely will be out in force for Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but disappointment may be in store.

While there still will be deals galore to be had the day after Thanksgiving, industry analysts say the bargains may not be as sensational as those of years past.

Retailers started aggressively discounting last month to counter a loss of customers as consumer confidence waned amid each day's news about the U.S. financial crisis. With the worst holiday sales season forecast in years - "flat is the new up," National Retail Federation CEO Tracy Mullin said at a local stop last week - stores have pared inventories so they won't get stuck with leftover merchandise that must be cleared with excesssive markdowns.

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