MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Holiday shoppers have another reason to eat early on Thanksgiving. Walmart is the latest major retailer to announce an even earlier launch to annual Black Friday weekend sales — beginning at dinnertime Thanksgiving evening.
“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 and CEO, Walmart U.S. “We’re excited to give our customers an incredible Black Friday with shopping hours that will allow them to take advantage of great prices on Thanksgiving night and all weekend long.”
In addition, the retailer has seven times the number of one-hour guaranteed items compared to last year, “Manager Specials” and even more hot deals on the season’s top gifts. The retailer will hold Black Friday events at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and 8 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 29.
Compared to last year, Walmart will offer 65-percent more inventory on televisions and double the number of tablets–some of the most popular Black Friday items.
Walmart is also thanking its employees for working on Thanksgiving.
“Delivering for our customers wouldn’t be possible without our associates. They are a critical component of our success throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season,” added Simon. “We appreciate each associate and the time they are dedicating to serve the families who shop our stores. As we have in the past, we’ll be recognizing their hard work with additional pay and free meals during their shifts. This year, as a special thanks, associates who work on Thanksgiving Day will receive a 25 percent discount on an entire purchase this holiday season.”
Target just announced Monday it plans to open at 8:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving.
Several other retailers like J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Macy’s have also announced plans to open Thanksgiving evening for the first time. Others, like Toys R Us and Best Buy, are opening earlier on Thanksgiving than last year.
The retailers say it’s what customers want. The stakes are high for retailers since the holiday season accounts for up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects an increase of 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion in holiday sales for the November-December period, up from 3.5 percent last year.
There’s also more pressure on retailers this year because the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is six days shorter than in 2012.