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Best Buy releases Black Friday deals early as it warns of bleak holiday outlook

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Best Buy has started its Black Friday sale early, making several deals live on the same day it warned it faces a potentially difficult holiday season.

The Twin Cities retailer has made eight Black Friday deals available on its website, including a $220 reduction on a 48-inch Samsung Smart HDTV (available for $379.99) and $200 off an HP touchscreen laptop ($479.99).

It comes after the company posted disappointing third quarter results, reporting that while profits grew to $125 million from $107 million last year, its overall sales dipped by 2.4 percent to $8.82 billion, with sales in store rising just 0.8 percent.

This reflects a wider trend in the industry, with Target saying on Wednesday its electronics department had seen "significant challenges" in the previous three months. Also this week, the St. Thomas Holiday Sentiment Survey said electronics had fallen down the list of desired gifts this Christmas, with a retail expert saying it's because "there's nothing going on in the world of electronics."

As a result, Best Buy chairman and CEO Hubert Joly warned the electronics giant is facing a challenging Holiday season, particularly when compared to 2014's better-than-expected Christmas performance.

"We of course recognize that we are up against a strong performance in the fourth quarter of last year and that the NPD industry declines that we saw in the third quarter, both sequentially and year-over-year, may continue throughout this year’s fourth quarter," he said in Best Buy's announcement.

"Irrespective, one thing we are certain about is our team’s ability to execute exceptionally well throughout the Holiday," he added. "We are going into the Holiday clear on our priorities and our plan, and with a better trained, engaged and most importantly, highly determined team."

Best Buy says national data from the NPD Group has found the consumer electronics industry declined 4.3 percent in the 13 weeks leading up to Oct. 31, which includes sales of TVs, desktop and notebook computers, tablets, and digital cameras.

These products account for 65 percent of Best Buy's revenue.

According to Reuters, analysts and investors believe shoppers are "holding back" on their electronics spending for what is usually "one of the strongest gift-giving categories," which they put down to a "lack of popular electronic products and sluggish wage growth."

Best Buy is promising reductions on more than 300 products in its Black Friday sales, which will get underway at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening and can be previewed here.

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