Following a series of rumors and announcements that came from retailers including Target, Best Buy and Macy’s, Walmart confirmed Tuesday that it will hold two major sales events at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, two hours earlier than it used to be last years.
Bearing in mind that this year’s shopping season is shorter and that following the government shutdown consumers confidence is low as ever, the biggest retailer is upping its efforts to draw in more customers: offering what experts said were impressive deals and guaranteeing more products to customers in line during the Thursday sales.
According to USA Today, customers may spend their money during exclusive sales that are scheduled to be launched on Friday, including an 8 a.m. sales event and “manager’s specials” discounts on high-demand items.
However, reports claim, the majority of the best deals occur or begin Thursday, including online shopping bargains that start early Thanksgiving morning.
Stores moving major sales to Thursday is a “big move,” suggested online deal expert Brad Wilson, founder of deal analysis website BradsDeals.com.
“We saw even in the last two years, when stores were opening Thursday, they weren’t necessarily kicking off their promotions on Thursday — the best deals wouldn’t necessarily start at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.,” he explained. “This really shifts the focus.”
He went on, adding that the long-expected Black Friday is becoming more of a “six-day weekend” than a single day. And by lauching early sale events Walmart just tries to keep up with the competition, said Duncan Mac Naughton, Walmart’s chief merchandising and marketing officer.
“Almost everybody is moving at least one hour up,” he said. “We thought that was the best time to ‘win the weekend.’ It’s going to be a competitive market. With six fewer days to Christmas, Black Friday’s going to play an even more important role.”
Early lauch of sale events and competitive deals signify retailers trying do their bet to bring in more customers, as they enter a shorter shopping season with more wary shoppers, analysts said.
“Even though there are people still crazy about Black Friday and willing to camp out, some consumers are weighing whether it’s worth going,” said DealNews.com Features Director Lindsay Sakraida. “It’s going to be more of a trend to have stores saying, ‘Here’s an item that you absolutely will get when you come.'”
Walmart’s attraction of crazy shoppers began a month early this year, with the rollout of a set of online promotions Nov. 1.
However, though Sakraida admitted that consumers might be able to find some good deals during the first sale events, she recommended taking advantage of what she saw as especially impressive Black Friday weekend bargains.
“We’ve already noticed a lot of stores pushing the holiday shopping element more,” Sakraida said. “(Lower consumer confidence) will encourage retailers to offer especially good doorbusters and really enticing deals that actually can be a really great opportunity to get great prices.”