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Walmart releases Black Friday promos early

8:41 AM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
A shopper walks to his car after purchasing a bike at Walmart in Butler Plaza on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2011, in Gainesville, Fla. (Photo: Matt Stamey, AP)
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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.

MORE: Confident Consumer: Find deals before Black Friday

While it may put a dent in one holiday, "when you come to Walmart, you'll have a great Christmas," he assured.

Along with the gift card for the iPad 2 (16 gigabytes with Wi-Fi) at the list price of $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 has to be paid for by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where it was purchased for the customer to pick up before Christmas

Walmart is staggering its other deals starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving through the weekend. Lindsay Sakraida, features editor at DealNews.com, reviewed the deals for USA TODAY, and said, "There are some good deals in here, but it's worth looking into the recent price history and checking 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 she says the site found a configuration with more storage for $260 during the summer. And the popular Acer 13.3-inch Ultrabook Walmart is selling for $499 is an "all-time low" by $100, she says.

Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer says the discounter welcomes shoppers who simply want to browse before they search for the best price because it thinks these consumers will ultimately buy from them. "We're so confident in our assortment and our pricing," Spencer says, that people can "come on in and look" even if they aren't planning to buy.

Other retailers have publicly denounced this practice, which they call "showrooming" because they feel as if 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 are doing 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 and checked 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."

USA Today

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