The official kickoff for the holiday shopping season is more than a week away. But the nation's retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are already starting to let shoppers know about their fat discounts in hopes of attracting big crowds.
Wal-Mart Stores confirmed on Tuesday some of the deals it will be pushing to draw crowds for the day after Thanksgiving. It also announced weekly savings starting this Saturday on popular toys and video games that it's pitching as comparable to the Black Friday sales blitz.
Walmart's Black Friday specials include 50-inch Sanyo plasma HDTVs for $598, Magnavox Blu-Ray disc players for $78, TomTom GPS systems for $59, $7 reversible fleece jackets and $3 children's sleepwear, according to Melissa O'Brien,a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Some of the toys at Walmart stores that will be discounted starting this Saturday through Nov. 27 are EZ Bake Oven, Disney Princess Scooter and Nerf N-Strike Vulcan. The discounts are up to 60 percent. Starting this Saturday, customers purchasing certain gaming packages such as "Band Hero" and "DJ Hero" will receive a $40 Walmart gift card while supplies last.
Wal-Mart and other retailers including Sears and Toys R Us have started to hawk deep sales usually reserved for the big sales day known as "Black Friday" in hopes of attracting more shoppers early. While Black Friday has faded a bit in importance, it's considered a key barometer of shoppers' willingness to spend for the holiday period.
The traditional shopping spree is dubbed Black Friday because it traditionally was considered the day when a surge of shoppers helped stores break into profitability for the full year.
Office supply chain Staples Inc. said that it will be selling HP laptops with an Intel Celeron processor for $299.98, slashed from $599.98; and Garmin Nuvi GPS systems for $119.99, reduced from $219.99. For the first time, Staples will be offering the same Black Friday deals online from 6-10 a.m. that shoppers can buy at the store.
Disney Store North America, which will be opening more than 125 stores nationwide at midnight on Black Friday, will be slashing prices with many gifts at $5, $10, and $15. Even these items will be 20 percent off during the early morning hours, the company said.