Wal-Mart kicks off holiday shopping season online
NEW YORK – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is upping the ante on holiday shopping.
The world’s largest retailer is pulling forward by nearly a month seven big deals on items like TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for the day after Thanksgiving and so-called Cyber Monday.
Shoppers will be able to purchase the items online starting shortly after midnight Friday. At the same time, the company’s website will be pushing another 300 holiday deals.
The seven deals include a 42- inch JVC LED TV for $299, a savings of 36 percent, and a 10-inch XELIO tablet for $49, a 51 percent discount. The items will be available while supplies last. Last year, Wal-Mart offered about 100 holiday deals online right after Halloween, but the offerings were focused on home decor. “It’s been a tough year for the average American family,” Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Wal-Mart.com, told The Associated Press. “It’s our job to be able to help our customers.”
He said Wal-Mart decided to accelerate offering the seven deals a month ago. Wal-Mart declined to say whether it would be repeating the discounts during the Thanksgiving weekend.
Anderson noted that on top of economic challenges, there are loyal shoppers who want to be able to shop for bargains early. Last year, Wal-Mart saw traffic on its website surge right after Halloween, he noted.
The move comes as Wal-Mart, like others, have seen customers scale back purchases heading into the holiday shopping season, which accounts for anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of retailers’ annual revenue. While the job and housing markets are recovering, the improvements haven’t been enough to sustain increased spending among shoppers.