Who needs Thanksgiving Weekend when Cyber Monday can come as early as Halloween?
Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) blew the lid off traditional holiday shopping on Friday by moving some Black Friday deals up a month. The world’s largest retailer is looking to lure in early birds through an “early cyber event” kicking off on Friday.
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As part of the promotion, it is also offering free shipping for orders greater than $50 on nearly 99% of Walmart.com items and 50% of Marketplace items, an effort to reach more mobile and online shoppers.
Mobile accounted for 40% of Walmart.com's holiday traffic last year, a number it hopes to increase this season.
"We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween," Walmart.com CEO Joel Anderson said in a statement.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company, which has in recent months increased its commitment to U.S. manufacturing, plans to offer 300 early-bird specials, including door-buster deals on items usually saved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Among the items on sale is the JVC 42-inch LED TV, which it is offering for $299, as well as the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad mini and iPod Touch 5th Generation starting at $299 and $289, respectively.
Wal-Mart isn’t the first retailer to make strategic holiday moves. In August, both Wal-Mart and Toys R Us unveiled holiday promotions that included increased layaway programs.
However, the Walmart.com cyber event seems to be the first real attempt by a retail heavyweight to start offering Black Friday deals as much as a month before the typical start to the holiday shopping season.