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Black Friday shopping apparently starts today, according to Amazon

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NEW YORK — The holiday season has begun at Amazon.

The online shopping service on Tuesday launched its Black Friday Deals Store, featuring sales on clothing, electronics, toys and other products. The site will feature new deals every day — sometimes as often as every five minutes — until December 22.

Some were already available Tuesday morning, including $20 off an Amazon Kindle e-reader and up to 70 percent off some coats and jackets. The website also advertised an “upcoming deals” section that featured countdowns to savings available for members of Amazon’s Prime program.

Amazon is also rolling out a set of deals this year for Prime members who own any device that features the company’s voice assistant, Alexa. A Prime membership costs $99 a year.

Amazon’s announcement comes as many stores finalize their own plans leading up to Black Friday.

Walmart says it will hire “holiday helpers” starting Friday to help customers get through checkout lines this season.

And Macy’s is opening earlier than ever this year, starting sales at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and staying open until 2 a.m. Macy’s will close for four hours and reopen at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.

Not everyone is embracing an early holiday shopping frenzy. The Mall of America in Minnesota is closing on Thanksgiving Day. But the mall also says some stores could choose to open.

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