Just because Black Friday has become a shopping season that runs nearly the entire month of November does not mean that major retailers won't be rolling out the big guns during the traditional kickoff to the Christmas sales push.
Of course, even the term Black Friday no longer rings entirely true because what once kicked off on the Friday after Thanksgiving now starts on the holiday itself for many of the biggest players. That's true for Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Target (NYSE:TGT), and Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), three of the major retailers that will lead the way this holiday season.
All three companies have announced their Black Friday plans. And while the day after Thanksgiving may no longer be quite as important to fourth quarter results as it once was, it's still a big deal, and Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy will all be big participants.
Target gets aggressive
Black Friday will be part of what Target is calling "10 Days of Deals" a promotion offering deep daily discounts on electronics, kitchenware, toys, and more from Nov. 22 through Dec. 1. As part of the "10 Days of Deals," guests will have access to a Black Friday presale on Wednesday, Nov. 25.
"Black Friday continues to kick off the holiday shopping season for many guests. This year Target will open our doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving for the millions of families who make Black Friday in-store shopping part of their tradition. For those shopping from home, Target is once again making all of our Black Friday deals available on Target.com," said Chief Stores Officer Tina Tyler in a press release.
The Black Friday savings actually kicks off Thanksgiving morning at Target.com where the deals below will be offered (as they will in the stores later that night). Some of the offers include:
- 55" Westinghouse LED TV, $249.99, Reg. $599.99
- 43" Element LED TV, Special Purchase $169.99
- Free $150 Target Gift Card when you buy an iPad Air 2
- Xbox One Bundle, $299.99 with Gears of War digital game download ($39.99 Value) and a free $60 Target Gift Card, Reg. $349.99
- Free $100 Target Gift Card with purchase of any Apple Watch
- Beats Solo 2 Headphones, $96.99, Reg. $199.99
- Nikon CoolPix L340 digital camera, $99.99, Reg. $229.99
- 40% off all apparel and accessories for women, men, kids and baby
- Buy one, get one 50 percent off select toys, including Star Wars, Hot Wheels, Thomas & Friends and more
- 50 percent off top holiday home décor, including all frames and jar candles
In addition any customer who spends $75 or more on Friday, Nov. 27, will receive a 20% discount to use toward a future purchase on any day between Dec. 4 and Dec. 13. Stores will remain open until 11 p.m. or midnight on Black Friday and many locations will offer increased hours during the holiday season.
Best Buy has big plans too
The electronics retailer actually jumped the competition this year by offering Black Friday-like savings from early November on. That does not mean Best Buy plans to ignore the big day.
Nearly 1,000 Best Buy stores in 47 states will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving with "doorbuster" deals. Nearly all stores will remain open until 1 a.m. local time on Friday, Nov. 27, and reopen for a second round of "doorbuster" deals at 8 a.m. The deals include:
Thanksgiving evening 5 p.m. "doorbusters:"
- Toshiba 49-inch LED 1080p HDTV for $149.99 (Best Buy exclusive) -- savings of $280
- Samsung 60-inch LED 4K Ultra HD Smart TV for $799.99 (Best Buy exclusive) -- savings of $700
- Up to $125 off iPad Air 2
- $80 Best Buy gift card and free 64GB memory card with the purchase of GoPro Hero4 Silver
- $250 Best Buy gift card with any Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge or S6 edge+ smartphone with installment billing purchase or lease and activation
Black Friday 8 a.m. "doorbusters:"
- $499.99 Samsung 40-inch LED 1080p HDTV, Xbox One gaming console and The LEGO Movie video game package -- savings of $230
- $120 off 11.6-inch MacBook Air
Best Buy will also have extended hours throughout the weekend opening Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. In addition, many "doorbusters" and almost every item in the Black Friday ad will be available for sale on BestBuy.com throughout Thanksgiving Day, with additional deals available all weekend long. The company is offering free shipping throughout the holiday season with no minimum order required and convenient in-store pickup options.
Wal-Mart is playing it differently
In past years Wal-Mart has been one of the symbols of Black Friday excess. Picture too many people squeezing through too small a door and customers pushing ahead to grab limited quantity sale items. The company took steps to stop that last year by offering rain checks and guaranteeing people certain deals even after stock ran out, but this year the company is pledging an overall better shopping experience.
"I know that shopping can make the holidays anything but simple and enjoyable," said COO Judith McKenna in a blog post. "It's become a chaotic, frustrating, complicated game of figuring out how to get what you want at the best price. And for many people it's just not fun anymore. That's why we're making holiday shopping easier for you every day."
She went on to explain that the company has made investments this year designed to improve the customer experience:
In February, we pledged to raise wages for our associates, along with new career opportunities, training, scheduling and benefits -- that's a commitment of $2.7 billion over two years. Then, we began hiring an additional 8,000 department managers. What does this mean for you? More engaged associates with specific training who will take better care of you. After all, our people make the difference.
That does not mean that the company won't be offering Black Friday deals, which the company explained in a press release:
For the first time ever, the majority of Wal-Mart's Black Friday deals will be available on Walmart.com -- including many of the top items such as televisions, video game consoles, and small home appliances -- beginning at 12:01 a.m. PT on Thanksgiving morning. Then, Black Friday will begin in stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
The company released a full list of Black Friday deals it will be offering, but here are some of the highlights:
- 10 televisions, including a Roku 32" Class Smart HDTV for $125 (special buy), 40" Class HDTV for $149 (special buy) and a Samsung 55" Class Curved Smart 4K UHD TV for $998 ($200 savings)
- Fitness wearables like the Fitbit Flex Wristband for $59 ($40 savings) and the Fitbit Charge HR Heart Rate + Activity Wristband for $119 ($30 savings)
- More than 100 video games many starting at $8 as well as NBA2K16, Madden '16 and FIFA '16 for Xbox One for $27 each ($32.88 savings)
- Video game console bundles including a PlayStation 4 Uncharted Bundle for $299 ($50 savings)
- Home appliances for $9.72 each including an Oster 8-Speed Blender, Crock-Pot Stainless 5-Qt. Slow Cooker and 12-cup Programmable Black & Decker Coffee Maker
- Hot toys including a Star Wars Lightsaber for $5 ($3.94 savings), the Sky Viper X-Quad Stunt R/C Drone for $25 (special buy) and the LEGO or Duplo Large Creative Box for $30 (special buy)
In addition, the chain plans to bring back its "1-Hour Guarantee", where customers in designated areas of the store can purchase certain items from 6 to 7 p.m. on Nov. 26. They'll either take the product home that night or receive it at a store before Christmas. Deals include
- iPad Air 2 Gold 16GB Wi-Fi for $399 ($100 savings)
- Beats Studio Headphones for $169 ($130.95 savings)
- Xbox One 500GB Gears of War Bundle with a $30 Walmart Gift Card for $299 ($50 savings)
- 15" HP Touch Laptop for $249 (special buy)
Wal-Mart will also offer a number of deals on Thanksgiving and Black Friday through its website.
Editor's note: this article was updated to reflect details from Wal-Mart's Nov. 12 press release.
Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends GoPro. 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.