Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE: WMT) is kicking off its online holiday promotions today, Nov.1, a month earlier than usual, reflecting many retailers' concerns about lighter consumer spending and a shortened holiday season.
While the day after Thanksgiving used to be the date most U.S. retailers began holiday promotions, 2013 is a record year for early starts. The shortened holiday season - six fewer shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas – is leading many retailers to start their seasonal promotions and sales early.
Kmart (NASDAQ: SHLD) received some negative feedback when it aired its first commercial of the holiday season on Sept. 9, 106 days before Christmas. Amazon (NADAQ: AMZN) started its daily Lightning Holiday Deals -- promotions good for a short time or until the product sells out – and unveiled its annual Holiday Toy List on Oct. 16.
Walmart's online sales event today features electronics such as JVC 42-inch LED TVs for $299 and Xelio 10.1-inch tablets for $49, Walmart.com's lowest prices in those categories.
The world's largest retailer is also offering free shipping on around 99 percent of its online items this year for orders over $50, Reuters reported. Last year, only 15 percent of its assortment qualified for free shipping.
For more, see:
This Reuters article
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