By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Wal-Mart and Sears Holdings have each made some recent holiday-related announcements.
Wal-Mart has announced an aggressive fourth-quarter price-cutting promotion with CE products taking a lead role.
Called "Operation Main Street," the promotion is described by Wal-Mart as "a series of initiatives" that started Saturday, Nov. 8, and will run for seven weeks and is designed to help those consumers hit by the economic downturn.
The retailer is anticipating the initiatives will help consumers save $200 million on top of any savings they might see by shopping Wal-Mart's regular prices.
Wal-Mart will offer discounts on thousands of products from such categories as CE, toys, home, grocery and health.
For example, in electronics, it said it will reduce a Magnavox Blu-ray Disc player, from $229, to $198.
Wal-Mart has launched a Savings Alert mobile service that will give consumers constant access and weekly notifications of special weekly holiday savings. Customers can sign up at www.walmart.com/mobileinfo or by dialing #WMT from any cellphone. All of the special sale items for Nov. 8 will also be shown at www.walmart.com.
Wal-Mart also announced that it has extended the cutoff date for consumers to place Site to Store orders by seven days. Now Internet shoppers can receive free shipping of on Christmas orders placed through Dec. 17; they will be able to pick up their orders at their local Wal-Mart store. For more on the program, visit www.walmartart.com/sitetostore. The chain said it expects the service to save customer more than $40 million in shipping fees this Christmas season.
As part of "Operation Main Street" the Wal-Mart Foundation will give more than $20 million combined to local community organizations., It announced plans to give a $1.25 million grant to The Salvation Army, whose Red Kettles will be in front of the retailer's Wal-Mart stores and Sam's Club locations through Dec. 24.
Sears Holdings' holiday-related announcements recently for both Sears and Kmart started last month. In October Kmart introduced Early Black Friday deals by offering savings on a PNY two-pack 2GB SD, Micro SD or USB flash drive for $14.99, down from its regular $19.99 price.
The discount retailer also announced plans to offer exclusive savings on more than 15 home electronics items in future weeks. According to a Sears Holdings representative, the combined savings on the 15 products will total "well over $700" for a consumer.
Sears said they will be offering a collection of specials on Black Friday that will not be advertised in advance. Also, the retailer has already made some electronic price cuts. Shoppers can now purchase a Sony Blu-ray Disc player from $179, down from $300, and a 46-inch Sharp LCD HDTV for $899, reduced from $1,400.
Beyond its price reductions, Sears is also offering shoppers the chance to participate in its "The Search for the Golden Wish Ticket" giveaway. The retailer will distribute more than 30 million "Golden Wish" tickets in stores and online through Dec. 24. Customers peel the ticket to see if they have won one of 40 Golden Wishes or one of more than 22,000 prizes. Golden Wishes include a shopping spree with LL Cool J or a Sony Dream Media Room which comes with more than $5,000 in Sony electronics products.
Finally, Sears also recently launched Sears2go, a mobile commerce Web site that allows customers to shop for Sears.com merchandise via their mobile phones. Customers can shop for products from a wide variety of categories including electronics and computers, and they can choose to pick the item up in store or have it delivered to their homes. Sears2go shoppers who choose to purchase their items in store will receive a text message alert when their merchandise is ready for pick-up. Users can access the service by texting SHOP to 73277 or by visiting Sears2go.com on a mobile phone.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.