Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart has raised the competitive holiday stakes by matching Black Friday prices from Best Buy, Target and Toys“R”Us this week on select CE and toys.
The discounter’s “pre-Black Friday savings event” will be held in stores and online this Friday, Nov. 22, beginning at 8 a.m. and continuing while supplies last.
Targeted items include a 50-inch LG TV that will be available for $448, down from $598, and select PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game titles for $49, down from $59.96.
In addition, the chain has extended its holiday price-match program to online customers, allowing Walmart.com shoppers to receive retroactive price matches on competitors’ brick-and-mortar promotions through December.
“Black Friday is our Super Bowl, and we plan to win,” said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S. “With six fewer days from Thanksgiving to Christmas, the retail environment is more competitive than ever. Every opportunity to get a great deal — whether this weekend, on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday weekend — matters for our customers. When it comes to price, we’re going to deliver for them.”
The announcement dovetailed with Best Buy’s third-quarter earnings release and conference call this morning, in which chief financial officer Sharon McCollam cautioned that the competitive holiday pricing environment and Thanksgiving Day store openings will likely impact fourth-quarter earnings.
“As we enter the fourth quarter, we are also highly aware of the public statements that are being made by our competitors as it relates to their promotional plans for Black Friday and the fourth quarter,” she said. “We know that we will be facing an increasingly promotional environment.
“First and foremost, we are committed to being competitive on price. As Hubert [president/CEO Joly] mentioned, it is table stakes in our transformation. So if our competition is in fact more promotional in the fourth quarter, we will be too and that will have a negative impact on our gross margin.”
She continued, “We are also committed to serving our customers when and where they want to be served, and in light of our competitors’ decisions to open early for Black Friday, we too are opening our stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and not closing them until late evening on Black Friday. This requires increased promotional offers and an incremental investment in store payroll. But again, it’s table stakes.”
Best Buy shares fell more than 9 percent in early trading on Best Buy’s profit warning.
Last week Walmart announced that it has amassed its largest-ever stockpile of Black Friday inventory, to be released in three waves beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day with one-hour in-stock guarantees on select items.
“Customers will ultimately decide when they want to shop,” Mac Naughton said. “We have great options and great deals for them whenever, or however, they choose to shop Walmart.”