Walmart hopes to make stores livelier for the holidays

By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO Markets Associated Press

As more shoppers shift online, Walmart hopes to make its stores more fun this holiday season.

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The chain will have parties for customers at its stores for the first time, increase the number of product demonstrations and expand the role of employees who last year helped find customers the shortest register lines. This year, they'll help customers in the toys and electronics areas every weekend and be at the online orders pickup stations as Christmas approaches.

Many retailers are trying to make stores more inviting even as they improve online services. Rival Target now has dedicated staff in areas like clothing, beauty and consumer electronics.

Walmart also says it has tripled the number of products online from last year's holiday season and is offering more exclusive merchandise.