Black Friday has traditionally been shoppers’ big holiday shopping sprint. But Black Friday now lasts seven days — and takes almost as much strategy and planning as the Thursday feast. But as retailers prepare a full week of sales and stampedes, dedicated bargain hunters can be certain some days will yield better bargains than others.

This trend is part one-upsmanship on the part of retailers – pre-empting the competition’s Friday sale with, say, a Wednesday one. It’s also an attempt to reach the growing group of shoppers who aren’t interested in 5 a.m. stampedes. A survey from Accenture found that this year, 53% of consumers don’t plan to shop on Black Friday, up from 48% in 2009. Even last year, the day netted just 6.4% of retail sales between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to ShopperTrak. “[Friday is] almost too late for many shoppers,” says Sue Golden, the senior vice president of client services for MARS Advertising.

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