Walmart Jumps the Gun on Holiday Promotions

Walmart is taking an early lead in the race to maximize sales during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the busiest time of year when a quarter’s worth of sales are rung up in just six weeks. Walmart revealed plans today that it will start its holiday sales rush earlier than ever – at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, according to a report in Reuters.
In a smart move to please disgruntled shoppers from previous years who could not purchase heavily promoted items, Walmart will guarantee that those who line up at its stores will be able to buy a trio of key items.

"We bought deep, very deep, and we bought deep on items that matter to our customers," said Walmart U.S. Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton, in the Reuters report.

The holiday shopping season traditionally kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, but the push to begin holiday sales early has given rise to a midnight madness approach that opens doors in the wee hours of the morning.

Walmart’s plan to begin Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. is a reaction to shopper feedback.
"'We got customer feedback that says ‘I like to shop earlier so I can go to bed earlier,'" Mac Naughton said.

So, at 8 p.m. local time on Thanksgiving, Walmart's offers will include deals on video games starting at $10 and home appliances such as a Crock Pot slow cooker and a Mr. Coffee maker for $9.44 each.

Walmart also said it would guarantee that three items will be available that night to customers standing in line at stores between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Guarantees cover access to an Apple iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi (a March 2011 version) priced at $399 with a $75 Walmart Gift Card; a 32-inch Emerson 720p LCD TV at $148 ($80 below the usual price); and an LG Blu-ray player for $38 that Walmart goes for $68 to $79 elsewhere.

Other items offered during the night include brands such as Vizio, Samsung, Nikon, Nook and Beats by Dr. Dre.

A variety of items ranging from Goodyear tires to a Singer Sewing Machine go on sale at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.

In 2011, Walmart began with deals on toys, home items and clothing at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving, followed by electronics deals at midnight and other offers at 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 25.

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