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Strong holiday sales expected, but shoppers looking for big bargains

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Retailers are expecting to ring up sales close to $620 billion this holiday season.

There's lots of talk about deals on Black Friday and even on Thanksgiving Day. But some shoppers are already stalking the aisles in search of early bargains, optimism that consumers are in a mood to spend.

The first person in the holiday line at a Best Buy store in San Jose has been counting down the days until he can snap up the bargains on his shopping list. This is the fourth year in a row he has camped out.

"So far, I've saved about $1,500 because I bought a Magnolia TV. I expect to save another $2,000 to $3,000 more," said Miguel Anguino.

Topping his list is a 55-inch 4K TV.

"There's a lot of enthusiasm and excitement right now with the new technologies these days - 4K TV is pretty popular, as are tablets and computers. It's going to be a fantastic year for us, we think," said Mike Schilling, the General Manager at Best Buy in San Jose.

Across the parking lot at Walmart, there's a bit more restraint about Black Friday and holiday spending.

Miriam Rivas says, while the aisles are already filled with some discounts, the recession taught her to wait for the best deal.

"From what we've seen, a lot of people do hold onto their money until maybe towards the end, or maybe the early shoppers, if they see the good deals, ok, let's spend it all right now," Miriam Rivas of San Jose.

If you include Thanksgiving, when some stores will be open, there are 28 shopping days before Christmas.

"The reason why we are open on Thanksgiving is that is what customers have told us -- that they would like to do a little bit of shopping after Thanksgiving dinner, go home, get some rest, and come back for the weekend and get started all over again," said store manager Chris van Every.

Last Thanksgiving weekend, 45 million people shopped -- up 10 million from the year before.

Retailers are expecting to ring up sales close to $620 billion this holiday season. They've hired an additional 800,000 seasonal workers, highest in at least a decade.

Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow says consumers want unique gifts this year.

"The retailers most at risk this year are actually traditional retailers like Macy's. They're going to have to rely very heavily on bargains because consumers are looking for something unique, something fresh, or something technological," said Yarrow.

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