Wal-Mart holds holiday hours steady, with heavy focus online


Wal-Mart isn’t making any big changes to its Black Friday store hours this year, as some other retailers have, and you won’t need a wristband to snag the biggest deals.

In line with last year, the big-box retailer’s website on turkey day will kick off its online Black Friday sale at 12:01 a.m. ET. That’s hours before its in-store doorbuster deals begin at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving evening. Wal-Mart stores will remain open all day Friday.

Select deals will also go live on Walmart.com this Thursday. Those deals, available until Nov. 12, include an Acer Aspire ES Laptop for $479, a Sky Rider Falcon 2 Pro Drone for $29.97, and a Kingsford 32-inch charcoal grill for $99.

This marks the third year Wal-Mart has offered a majority of its Black Friday promotions online, as consumers are increasingly dividing their budgets between stores and the web.

Last year’s Adobe Digital Index Report showed consumers spent $91.7 billion online in the U.S. alone, an 11 percent jump from the year before. This year, Adobe is projecting that number to surpass $100 billion.

And for the 2017 holidays, consumers are expected for the first time to spend more of their budgets online than in stores, according to an annual survey by Deloitte. Internet sites and mass merchants remain shoppers’ favored destinations, but e-retailers are widening their lead over other formats, Deloitte found.

“What [shoppers] buy will be largely determined by the digital interactions occurring now,” said Rod Sides, leader of Deloitte’s U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution team.

Retailers including Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, Target and Sears are, in turn, beefing up their online offerings ahead of the holidays.

New this year, Wal-Mart will no longer be handing out wristbands in advance of Black Friday for coveted items like TVs and iPads. In 2014, Wal-Mart called its holiday strategy the “New Black Friday,” where it hoped to trim back the number of shoppers standing in line for “nothing.” But that method was short-lived.

“We feel good about inventory” this year, Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer, Steve Bratspies, said on a call with the media. “We don’t think we need wristbands this year.”

Some of Wal-Mart’s top Black Friday deals in 2017 include a Hatchimals Golden Lynx Egg for $49.88, a Frozen Sleigh 12-Volt Ride-On for $198, a Samsung 65-inch Class Curved 4K Smart TV for $998, the Google Home Mini for $29 and the PlayStation 4 1TB Console for $199.

Bratspies said Wal-Mart has stocked enough kids pajamas this holiday season to reach from Miami to Seattle.

Best Buy, a close competitor to Wal-Mart in the electronics department, is set to open its doors on Thanksgiving at 5 p.m., as it did last year.



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