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Walmart, Amazon Get Head Start On Black Friday

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.

Walmart kicked off its campaign online at midnight with more than 300 specially discounted items including a 42-inch JVC LED TV for $299 and a 10-inch Xelio tablet for $49. The discounter described the prices as its lowest ever for those screen sizes online.

“We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween,” said Joel Anderson, president/CEO of

Meanwhile, Amazon today launched its Black Friday Deals Store, offering two “Deals of the Day” through Dec. 22 and hundreds of weekly “Lightening Deals” on CE and other categories.

Indeed, CE will be a key seasonal focus for Amazon, which has also released an Electronics Holiday Gift Guide highlighting 350 suggested tech gifts and offering a daily deal through Dec. 31.

“We’re making it easy for customers to discover and zero in on the hottest gifts and holiday trends, from streaming media players to Bluetooth portable speakers,” said Amazon CE VP Ben Hartman. “Our Electronics Holiday Gift Guide is designed to help people shop how they like: by price, category, gift recipient and interest. The Guide gives customers gift ideas for everyone on their list, making it easy to shop from the comfort of home and take advantage of fast and free shipping.”

Amazon said core CE gifting trends this season will include multiple Kindle e-readers and tablets for households; wireless speakers, headphones and media drives; lightweight laptops with extended battery life; and home theaters equipped with 65-inch and larger TVs with Ultra HD resolution, supported by soundbars and streaming media players.

Amazon also cited the continued growth of mobile shopping, noting that tens of thousands of new customers make their first-time Amazon purchases each day via mobile devices.