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 originally reserved for the day after Thanksgiving and so-called Cyber Monday.
Shoppers will be able to purchase the items online starting Saturday. At the same time, Walmart.com will be pushing another 300 holiday deals on its website, from toys to home decor.
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," said Joel Anderson, president and CEO of Walmart.com. "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 Walmart 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 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. The 16-day partial government shutdown also soured shoppers' confidence.
And retailers say there's more pressure this year, because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is six days shorter than in 2012.
Against this background, a slew of stores including Macy's have announced they will open their doors on Thanksgiving evening for the first time. Wal-Mart, which started deals at its stores Thanksgiving evening last year, hasn't said when it will start doing so this year.