Walmart's Black Friday promotions are out today, and the discounter says it bought so "deep" that it will have enough of three hot electronics items to satisfy shoppers who are in their stores Thanksgiving night.
To get a $75 Walmart gift card with the purchase of an Apple iPad 2, however, shoppers have to be in the store and in line between 10 and 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart's chief merchandising and marketing officer in the U.S., says because many stores are open 24 hours, shoppers can come during the day on Thanksgiving. It may put a dent in one holiday, but "when you come to Walmart, you'll have a great Christmas."
Along with a gift card for the iPad 2 (16 gigabytes with Wi-Fi) at $399, the Thanksgiving night price cuts are for a 32-inch Emerson 720p high-definition LCD TV for $148 (an $80 discount), and a $38 Blu-ray player.
If any of these items happen to sell out before 11 p.m. (local time), Walmart will offer a "guarantee card" for the item, which must be paid for by midnight and registered online. It will be shipped to the store where it was purchased for customer pick-up before Christmas.
Walmart will stagger other deals beginning at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving through the weekend. Lindsay Sakraida, an editor at DealNews.com, reviewed the deals for USA TODAY and said, "There are some good deals," but you should look into the recent price history and check other stores.
She says the site hasn't found the 15.6-inch Hewlett-Packard laptop Walmart is selling for $279 for less than $300. But they found a configuration with more storage for $260 last summer. The Acer 13.3-inch Ultrabook Walmart is selling for $499 is an "all-time low" by $100, she says.
Spokeswoman Sarah Spencer says Walmart welcomes shoppers who want to browse before searching for the best price. The discounter thinks they'll ultimately buy at Walmart.
Other retailers have denounced this practice. They believe they're serving as showrooms for consumers who want to see and touch products before buying them cheaper online.
Still, Walmart won't go so far as to match online competitors' prices, which Target and Best Buy will do at certain times this holiday season. Spencer says the discounter's "ad match" policy only applies to prices at local stores, not websites.
Last year on Black Friday, DealNews employees went to stores to see if doorbuster deals were available online at that store or its competitors. In 70% of cases, the same products could be found online for the same price or cheaper.
"It's very likely there will be some online deals that will undercut what Walmart is offering," says Sakraida. "It's a little bit deflating that (Walmart) won't match online prices because Amazon will typically offer some of the best deals."
(c) Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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