If you live for Black Friday discounts, Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) has a deal for you. Not content to offer just one day of rock-bottom pricing, the discount retail king is making Black Friday an extended weekend event stretching from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday.

"Black Friday has become Black Friday week," Bloomberg News quoted Wal-Mart's chief marketing officer as saying. "Our customers want to shop when they want to shop so we're trying to expand the times and product availability with them."
 
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Wal-Mart is looking to make merry this Christmas season by extending its Black Friday sales for five full days. Photo: Flickr via Vanesser III.

According to the National Retail Federation, some 45 million people went shopping on Thanksgiving Day in 2013, a 27% increase from the year before. Wal-Mart said it alone served 22 million customers that day
 
The retailer will open its doors on 6 p.m. Thursday with a special hourlong doorbuster sale in which customers in a specially designated area are guaranteed to be able to purchase special sale products, including a 65-inch Vizio smart TV for $648 (thus saving $350. Last year, a 60-inch Vizio went for $688). It will run the promo again for an hour beginning at 8 p.m. 
 
At 6 a.m. on Black Friday itself, the discounts will be opened up storewide. Sales at walmart.com will begin at midnight on Thanksgiving Day.
 
The idea to extend the promotions for five days and spread them across its physical locations and its online store seems to be Wal-Mart's attempt to thwart the continued incursions by online retailers led by Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN).
 
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More consumers than ever will be using the online channel to do their Christmas shopping this year. Photo: Flickr via Carl Malamud.

Wal-Mart 's website, with 250 million visits last year, is the second-most trafficked site behind Amazon during the holidays, though it still was dwarfed by the 903 million visits to its rival in 2013. Analysts at the NRF forecast an 8% to 11% increase in U.S. online holiday sales in November and December, and Wal-Mart is angling to capture as many of the sales as possible.

Retailers need to blunt the online channel's "always on" advantage. They have largely aimed to do that by pushing Christmas earlier and earlier into the calendar. While Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) earned the distinction of pushing the envelope earliest last year by running ads before kids even went back to school, Wal-Mart was one of the first retailers to open on Thanksgiving Day itself.

That pressured other retailers to follow suit, and now TargetMacy's, and Best Buy all open their doors on the holiday evening. Sears' Kmart stores will open at 8 a.m. 

Wal-Mart is amping up the holiday sales arms race once again by making Black Friday a five-day event, but it is also taking the fight directly to e-commerce. 

ChannelAdvisor (NYSE:ECOM) refers to the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday as the "Cyber Five," and uses the time frame to determine the impact Amazon, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY)Google, comparison shopping channels, and paid search engines have on e-commerce.

Amazon, of course, remains the leader, and last year saw a 35% year-over-year increase in same-store sales during the Cyber Five. eBay, meanwhile, was up 30% from 2012. 

Those are strong numbers facing Wal-Mart, and show why it expanded its Black Friday sales and made every day of the five-day period a Christmas extravaganza.

Follow Rich Duprey's coverage of all the retailing industry's most important news and developments. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Amazon.com, eBay, and Google (C shares). The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, eBay, and Google (C shares). Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.