Today, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) announced it would be kicking off its Black Friday specials at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year. The company announced it would be holding two one-hour windows with special pricing, with one beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday Nov. 28 and then at 8 p.m.. In addition, it will also have special deals beginning at 8 a.m. on Black Friday itself.
Most of Wal-Mart's 4,000 U.S. namesake stores are already open 24 hours year-round. But the company is concentrating on offering holiday deals on Thanksgiving Day.
Last year Wal-Mart kicked off its deals at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and held events at 8 p.m., 10 p.m., and 5 a.m. The company noted that from 8 p.m. to midnight last year it processed almost 10 million transactions, or 5,000 items per second. Wal-Mart sold more than 1.3 million televisions during its Black Friday events last year. Wal-Mart said it will increase its TV inventory by 65% this year and double the number of tablets.
This year, Wal-Mart will continue its One-Hour Guarantee program, which will include 21 items that have guaranteed prices and will be available that night or before Christmas to customers who are in line during those one-hour windows starting at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Last year, Wal-Mart introduced its One-Hour Guarantee with only three items.
"Black Friday is our day -- our Super Bowl -- and we're ready to prove once again that no one does it better than Walmart," said Bill Simon, president and CEO, Walmart U.S., in a press release. "We're excited to give our customers an incredible Black Friday with shopping hours that will allow them to take advantage of great prices on Thanksgiving night and all weekend long."
Wal-Mart will join Best Buy as the retailers opening the doors to deal-seekers in the middle of the pack by opening at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Sears and Kmart will open their doors on Thanksgiving morning at 8 a.m. and 6 a.m., respectively, which has drawn the ire of consumers and industry groups. Target, J.C. Penney and Macy's will all open shortly after Wal-Mart and Best Buy at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Wal-Mart is just the latest to announce timing that aims to entice shoppers into the aisles earlier than last year. J.C. Penney is opening 10 hours earlier than last year and it and Macy's are among the stores making the leap from a Black Friday opening to a Thanksgiving Day one.
-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.