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Target this week sent an email to consumers proclaiming, "The early bird gets the sweet uniform deals." And nowadays, the early marketer gets the sweet sales. Thanks to more deal-savvy shoppers and the growing competition of Amazon Prime Day, which this year will run for 36 hours beginning in the afternoon on July 16, retailers are promoting back-to-school campaigns early and often.

The bulk of back-to-school spending is still dictated by school schedules and concentrated within the period from the last week of July through the end of August, notes Jon Swallen, chief research officer at Kantar Media. That's good enough for Amazon.

"Prime Day is well-timed to be able to capitalize on thatit's right at the beginning of when people are beginning to think about back-to-school purchases," Swallen says.

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