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by Anglique Soeanriet

Technically, Black Friday bargains began a month ago when major retailers and department stores started advertising early door-buster deals to get budget-conscious shoppers to spend early.

But the holiday shopping kickoff tradition will still carry on the day after Thanksgiving at Southeast Valley malls, but with even steeper discounts as retailers play catch-up with big-box retailers that started early.

Two major shopping malls – Chandler Fashion Center and Arizona Mills – will open at midnight, and the rest will open before dawn.

In Mesa, Westcor-run Fiesta Mall and Superstition Springs Center will open at 6 a.m. Others, however, will be open before then.

Consumer analysts say shoppers this year will still be watching their spending and focusing on low prices and basic needs, according to the National Retail Federation. For the holidays, the retail trade association’s study showed consumers plan to spend an average of $688.87, a slight increase from last year’s $681.83. Most of that will be spent on family.

Lori Pappas, Westcor assistant vice president of consumer marketing, is well aware of the careful spender.

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