NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

It’s barely November, but the holiday shopping season is in full swing, with retailers already offering deep discounts.

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CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reports that stores may be singing the blues, but consumers are ready to shop.

Santa arrived in the malls before Halloween this year. Trying to snag shoppers’ limited money, many retailers have turned to early sales typically reserved for Black Friday.

“All calculated, sales, coupons, and take advantage of things while they’re in stock,” shopper Kim Darmody, of Kings Park, said.

The Darmodys say they are spending about the same as last year, but half of all consumers polled in a United Services Association survey reported they plan to spend less – or not spend at all.

Northport shopper Anne Libbey said it’s certainty about the economy and job market that’s causing consumer weariness.

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“We did tell the kids a little bit less this year, one big thing and a few small things,” Libbey said. “We’re trying to scale it back a little bit.”

Worried retailers seem ready with heavy discounts, as many stores were already posting sales of as much as 70 percent off.

“If you get a good price on something now, buy,” Dr. Joel Evans, of the Hofstra School of Business, said. “Don’t buy everything now – buy what’s on sale, don’t buy anything at full price.”

Analysts say it’s a great time to be a consumer.

Aside from luxury spending at stores like Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue, last month’s retail gains were disappointing and lackluster, and that could bring exploding competition before Thanksgiving.

“The best way to save money is to not be an impulse shopper, comparison shop within the budget, and knowing the big-ticket items that people want to have,” Dr. Evans said. “They really need to go online, they need to see what the best prices are. They need to see customer reviews.”

Analysts are now watching to see whether the extreme markdown wars of previous seasons will return in 2010.

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Retail experts predict the holiday season will not be any worse than last year – and may even be a little better.

Jennifer McLogan