Think you'll be getting some really great bargains close to Christmas? You may want to think again. Those increasing markdowns we've all become so accustomed to may just not materialize this year.

Retailers are carrying less inventory this year so there won't be as much merchandise in stock. Even with a decline in consumer spending, people will shop for gifts. But with stores stocking less, some items may actually sell out.

Inventories have been tight for a while now, but nothing compared with what the retail industry expects this season. The National Retail Federation tracks imports and says volumes are at their lowest levels since 2002.

Imports for October, usually the heaviest month when holiday merchandise arrives, are projected to decline 18% over last year.

This means holding out for big discounts could backfire. Wait too long to buy and you could be out of luck.

For more Black Friday coverage, check out our Black Friday Deals and other Black Friday 2009 news today.

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