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Walmart will kick off Black Friday at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving

Black Friday (shopping)ThanksgivingJC Penney Company Inc.

Walmart is planning its earliest ever Black Friday doorbuster sale – starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

That’s when shoppers who get a spot in a designated line in the store will be guaranteed the chance to buy certain sale items for one hour.

The retailer, which is announcing its Black Friday specials today, said its bringing back and expanding the "One-Hour Guarantee" sales it ran for last year's holiday shopping kickoff. Instead of offering three items, Walmart is offering 21. And the special sales will start earlier, with one at 6 p.m, another at 8 p.m. and the final one at 8 a.m. on Black Friday, Nov. 29.

Walmart started its Black Friday sales at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving last year. But the retailer is just the latest to kick things off earlier.

"We’re always looking at what’s going on in the competitive environment,” Duncan Mac Naugton, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said on a conference call with reporters. "Black Friday is our Super Bowl of retail. Many retailers are moving from Friday into Thursday, and almost everyone moved up one hour if not more. But 6 p.m. was the right time for us."

And, with six fewer days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, "We anticipate a very competitive market."

Starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Walmart shoppers who get a place in line can get special deals on LED TVs, iPads, laptops, Blu-ray players and diamond and sterling jewelry. At 8 p.m., there are sales on Beats by Dr. Dre Headphones, prepaid phones and RCA tablets (for $49.)

Stores will hand out wristbands, distributed while supplies last, for a select few products, such as the Xbox One. For Black Friday itself, besides the 8 a.m. event, the discounter will hold "manager’s specials," from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., promising savings on in-demand categories and brands.

Walmart’s three sale events will be held at the same time at all Walmart stores. Stores open 24 hours will be open on Thanksgiving, while Thanksgiving opening times for other stores will vary by location.

Walmart has plenty of company in offering bargain hunters Thanksgiving day hours.

Sears Holdings Corp., JC Penney, Macy’s and Kohl’s will open at 8 p.m. on Turkey Day. Best Buy will open at 6 p.m., much earlier than last year's midnight Black Friday opening.

But Kmart has beat them all, at least in opening hours. The chain will kick off the deals at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open for it's first-ever all-night shopping spree before closing at 11 p.m on Black Friday.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Black Friday (shopping)ThanksgivingJC Penney Company Inc.
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