HUFFINGTON POST
11/09/2012 01:01 pm ET Updated Nov 27, 2012

Sears Black Friday Deals To Begin 5 Days Early This Year

Retailers literally cannot wait until after Thanksgiving to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Sears is rolling out its holiday deals on Nov. 18, a full five days before Black Friday, CNNMoney reports. The early sales will be available to members of Sears' Shop Your Way free customer loyalty program.

Sears isn't the only retailer inching up the start date of holiday sales. Walmart recently announced that it would start its specials at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Opening early may be an indication that retailers are nervous about shopper turnout this year, given last year's record-high Black Friday turnout. Holiday spending is expected to only rise 4.1 percent this year, less than last year's uptick of 5.6 percent, according to the National Retail Federation.

In 2011, Sears opened its doors at 4 a.m. on the morning of Black Friday whereas Walmart waited until 5 a.m.

Among other efforts to make sure shoppers spend big on holiday shopping, Target is offering to match prices of online competitors from Nov. 1 through Dec. 16. Toys R Us is also promising to match competitors’ prices.

Stores have also become more lenient with their holiday layaway policies for shoppers who do their shopping early. While Toys R Us waved its service fee for layaway orders, Wal-Mart reduced its fee from $15 to $5 through Dec. 14. Sears waved its layaway fee as well until Nov. 17.

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