In an event at a company superstore in North Bergen, NJ, Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran and other executives including Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer, said the company would lower prices on popular products to meet or beat select Black Friday offers from its competitors, however it plans do so one week earlier in the period leading up to Thanksgiving. The pre Black Friday discount initiative is an expansion on the inaugural such program that ran last holiday season.
Foran said that Walmart had worked hard to prepare for the holidays and had prices and depth of merchandise to boost its prospects in the season.
“I feel pretty good about where we’re going for this holiday season,” Foran told reporters gathered at the North Bergen store. “The preparation I’ve seen looks very impressive. We have no real port issues. I think price is where we want it do be. And we’re really going to obsess over customer service for this holiday event.”
He said Walmart is hiring 60,000 seasonal workers for the holiday season, noting that many of the hires will man registers, which could tell against checkout line frustration in the holidays.
Mac Naughton told HomeWorld Business that Walmart expects a higher proportion of consumers to do more of their shopping on Black Friday this year than did last year. However, as the pre Black Friday sales initiative suggests, Walmart is looking at the season from a long perspective and, even if consumers are focusing their holiday budgets on Black Friday, the company will have events running after the Thanksgiving weekend up until Christmas that may convince shoppers to buy some more at its stores.
In the pre Black Friday event, the company said consumers could expect meet or beat prices on a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer and the Keurig K-40 brewer as well as electronics and toys.
Walmart stated that it would unveil specific prices on Thursday.
In addition, Walmart said it planned to offer Black Friday-like discounts on a separate array of items in the days leading up to Thanksgiving including a Hoover High Performance Bagless Upright Vacuum at $98.