North Bergen, N.J. — Walmart is looking to trump its competitors and win Black Friday with a pre-Thanksgiving sales event that begins this week.
The promotion, which starts Friday and runs through Thanksgiving, will match or beat Black Friday pricing on select doorbuster items that were pre-announced by major national retailers.
Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan Mac Naughton said the company scoured competitors’ Black Friday ads and came up with a short list of rallying points, including 60-inch TVs from LG and Sony, a 40-inch Element LED TV, a PlayStation 4 bundle and a Canon wireless printer.
The effort reprises last year’s pre-Black Friday event but doubles the number of sale items.
Besides the price-matched products, Walmart will also offer a host of pre-holiday “special buys,” including a 58-inch Samsung LED TV for $698 and a 40-inch Samsung LED TV bundled with Disney’s “Frozen Sing-Along Edition” animated flick for $298.
Laura Phillips, entertainment senior VP/general merchandising manager, said Walmart worked closely with “key partner” Samsung on developing “offers, derivatives and promotions” for the holiday period, including a 30-percent-off A/V sale that began online Nov. 12 and will hit stores Black Friday morning.
“It’s the first time we partnered on a cross-channel event,” Phillips said.
Other items will be supplemented with Walmart gift cards, such as Apple’s iPad Air 2 16GB Wi-Fi tablet that will sell for $489 with a $100 gift card, and its iPhones 6 and 5s, which will sell for $179 and $79, respectively, with a $75 gift card and a two-year subscription on Sprint, AT&T or Verizon.
For Thanksgiving weekend, the discounter will hold three rounds of in-store sales events, each with its own lead doorbusters. The first, set for 6 p.m. on Thursday, provides a one-hour in-stock guarantee for select items, including a 65-inch Vizio LED TV for $648 and an Xbox One console bundled with a six-title “Halo” gaming series and a $30 gift card for $329.
Mac Naughton said the company is leveraging its supply-chain prowess and its ability to “buy deep” to provide quantities that “should be adequate to meet our customers’ needs.”
At 8 p.m., a CE-specific sale will feature a 60-inch Element TV for $498 and what Phillips described as the chain’s first wearable doorbuster, a Fitbit Flex wristband for $69.
The third round, beginning at 6 a.m. Black Friday morning, will include the 30-percent-off Samsung A/V sale.
Many of the items will also be available online, although Walmart.com will also feature a number of channel-specific offers, most prominently a 55-inch curved Samsung 4K/UHD TV for $1,298, a $900 savings, global e-commerce COO Michael Bender said.
Walmart’s head of general merchandise, executive VP Steve Bratspies, told TWICE that CE, along with toys, is highlighted in the holiday promotions because it represents the company’s biggest category, and “people get the most excited about electronics.”
All told, Walmart expects to sell 2 million TVs, 4 million video game titles and 20 million movies over Black Friday, Phillips said.
The executives presented their holiday game plan at a media gathering at a Walmart store, here, yesterday.
For more on Walmart’s CE strategy, including its entry into wearables and connected home, see the Dec. 1 issue of TWICE.