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Walmart Doubles Down On Tablets For Black Friday

Bentonville, Ark. Walmart will stock twice as many tablets for Black Friday as it did last year, and will have 65 percent more TV SKUs on hand for the sales event.

The discounter said it is amassing its largest-ever Black Friday inventory, which will be released in three waves: at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and at 8 a.m. on Black Friday.

During the sale periods Walmart will guarantee in-stocks for one hour on 21 different items — up from three last year — and will provide customers with wristbands to secure select products like the new Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One gaming consoles.

Sale items will include a 32-inch, 720p off-brand LED TV for $98; 16GB Apple iPad Minis with a $100 gift card for $299; a 14-inch HP Pavillion TouchSmart laptop for $278; and a 7-inch RCA dual-core tablet for $49.

The chain will also drop brand- and category-wide “Manager’s Specials” from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Black Friday, and will post hundreds of online discounts beginning “early on Thanksgiving morning,” the company said.

“Black Friday is our day — our Super Bowl — and we’re ready to prove once again that no one does it better than Walmart,” said Bill Simon, president/CEO, Walmart U.S.

Simon added that sales associates will be rewarded for their Thanksgiving hours with additional pay, free meals during their shifts and a 25 percent discount on a holiday season purchase.

Walmart has posted its Black Friday circulars and sales events here.

In a research note, retail analyst David Strasser of Janney, Montgomery, Scott observed that the one-hour price and product guarantee “is a very big distinction at Walmart, which tells us that Walmart is going for comp in a big way, even at the expense of margin.

“This, combined with layaway on expanded product assortment, new gaming consoles, improved online assortment and functionalities, and higher advertising could all help comp in Q4,” Strasser noted.

Meanwhile, the early release of doorbuster specials by Walmart and other retailers represents an about-face from recent years, when the promotions were highly guarded secrets that were only revealed in special inserts on Thanksgiving Day. The practice changed after Black Friday sites began leaking holiday circulars, although merchants still reserve some deals for mobile and social-media flash sales.