In what's turning out to be one of the more competitive holiday retail seasons in recent memory, retailers are tripping over one another to be first with Black Friday deals.
And they’re not waiting until Black Friday, or even Thanksgiving, when more retailers then ever will be open.
On Tuesday, Walmart announced a "pre-Black Friday" Friday. Not that it’s likely to equal the real one, but for those who don’t want to wait, Walmart’s sales event starts at 8 a.m. this Friday, both in stores and online. The discounter promises steep discounts on toys and electronics such as LeapPad 2 and Xbox One video games.
The idea is to match some of the already announced Black Friday deals at Target, Toys 'R’ Us and Best Buy and to beat those deals by a week, the discounter said.
Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing office for Walmart U.S., compares Black Friday to the Super Bowl of retail.
"We plan to win," Mac Naughton said in the pre-Black Friday announcement.
Walmart shoppers who buy something online, then find a lower price in store at a competitor can send an email to email@example.com and get the difference on a gift card. The same policy applies for in-store items bought from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24, except Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the company said.
Other chains, including Best Buy, are using targeted email campaigns to make special pre-Black Friday offers to customers.
Locally, The Big Screen Store and The Sofa Store are sending emails to customers with a $25 off coupon that can be used on any purchase made by Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
On Thanksgiving, however, The Big Screen Store and The Sofa Store locations will be closed.
"We have decided to offer our Black Friday prices NOW – in addition to opening up at a reasonable hour on Black Friday at 9 a.m.," the email from The Big Screen/Sofa Store says.
The head of online women's apparel retailer UsTrendy says that Black Friday has turned into a week-long event, with those in the apparel and fashion sectors starting their Black Friday sales early. UsTrendy plans a "countdown sale," starting five days before Black Friday, a trend started by chains such as Macy’s and Sears.
"Our operating costs continue to rise throughout the year," said Sam Sisakhti, UsTrendy’s founder and CEO. “So we try to create additional revenue opportunities by starting our holiday shopping season up to five days earlier."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun