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Wal-Mart Jump-Starts Black Friday

Bentonville, Ark. — Wal-Mart will offer what it describes as “Black Friday prices” on five holiday gift items this Friday, including an Acer laptop computer with 1GB of RAM for $348.

The other four “secret in-store specials” will be revealed online tomorrow at Customers can also sign up to receive a text message announcing the items, which Wal-Mart describes as “five of the most sought-after gifts this season.”

The Nov. 2 specials will be available in stores only, beginning at 8 a.m. The event is timed to the official opening of special in-store Christmas shops that will feature select holiday merchandise, including such CE fare as Nintendo Wii consoles and Guitar Hero III bundles.

The pre-Black Friday promotion is part of a holiday marketing campaign that emphasizes low prices and premium brands under the overarching theme “Save money, live better.”

One example of the strategy is a forthcoming TV spot that showcases a Toshiba HD DVD player, which a fictitious wife bought for her husband at “an incredible price, even for Wal-Mart.” Another ad notes that “Wal-Mart saves the average family $2,500 a year.” It then asks, “What will you do with your savings?”