By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
New York – Walmart and Amazon formally began their Black Friday promotional periods today with a blitz of early-bird specials and daily deals.
The jumpstarts were likely driven by an early holiday season marked by six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a Hanukah that arrives before Black Friday.
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.
Culver City, Calif. — Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Vudu, the Walmart-owned video-streaming service, launched Wednesday a new interactive movie-watching experience called Vudu Extras+.
The new service enhancement will offer with select titles interactive extra content, like that packaged with DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles online.
San Bruno, Calif. – Walmart is opening two massive distribution centers dedicated to fulfilling online orders only.
Its Fort Worth, Texas facility is 800,000 square feet, will have 275 full-time employees, and began shipping orders last week. The second warehouse, in Bethlehem, Pa., will be more than 1 million square feet and employ over 350 workers when it opens in the first quarter.
Combined, the new operations will house hundreds of thousands of CE, toy, apparel, fitness equipment and sporting goods SKUs.
The way manufacturers in CE and other consumer product industries tell it, getting onto Walmart’s vendor matrix is like running a gauntlet, only tougher.
Last year the world’s largest retailer made sport of the process by launching Get On the Shelf, a contest in which inventors, entrepreneurs and business owners pitch their product concepts to buyers, and customers get to vote for the winning items. The top five vote-getters are added to Walmart.com’s assortment, and those garnering enough pre-orders get a shot at a slot on Walmart store shelves.
Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart has shaved $20 off the $99 contract price of Apple’s forthcoming 16GB iPhone 5c and $10 off the $199 iPhone 5s.
The discounter began taking in-store pre-orders for the iPhone 5c this morning, in advance of the new handsets’ Sept. 20 sale date.
Walmart has also dropped the contract price of the discontinued iPhone 5 from $98 to $79 for the 16GB model, and cut $100 from the price of unlocked iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 models, to $549 and $349, respectively, for use with its Straight Talk prepaid plan.
Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores reported higher net sales and net earnings corporately but lower comp sales for Walmart U.S. stores in its second fiscal quarter, ended July 31.
Corporate net sales were $116.2 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent over last year. Consolidated net income attributable to Walmart was $4.1 billion, up 1.3 percent.
U.S. comp-store sales were down 0.3 percent for Walmart U.S. and up 1.7 percent at Sam’s Club locations in the U.S.
Minneapolis — Best Buy is doing a better job of thwarting showrooming than Walmart or Target, a new study suggests.
According a report by market research firm Prosper Insights & Analytics, fewer in-store mobile customers defect to Amazon.com while shopping at Best Buy than they do while visiting Target or Walmart stores.
Fayetteville, Ark. – Walmart celebrated its store associates and flaunted its financial performance and social responsibility at the company’s annual shareholder meeting last week.
As per tradition, the corporate pep rally was peppered with celebrity appearances, which this year included performances by Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and master of ceremonies Hugh Jackman.
Actor Tom Cruise also made a special appearance, to tout Walmart’s commitment to women, the environment, food banks, and healthful eating choices.
New York — Hisense launched its first branded tablets for the U.S. market here Thursday, announcing two Wi-Fi-only SKUs that will be sold exclusively through discount store giant Walmart.
The tablets include the Sero 7 LT (light), which carries a $99.99 suggested retail, and the Sero 7 Pro, which carries a $149 suggested retail.
Both models will be available starting Friday at more than 3,000 Walmart stores across the country.
CTIA 2013 Las Vegas — Smartphones will “bring retailing back to its roots of being personal and interactive,” said Gibu Thomas, global head of mobile at Walmart during a keynote speech here at the CTIA convention.
Walmart is using its smartphone shopping app to deliver the “personal and interactive experience that Sam Walton believed in,” Gibu told the audience. “The future is history,” he said.