By Steve Woodfield
Wal-Mart’s Black Friday deal bonanza starts earlier than ever this year, at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
The sales kick off two hours earlier than they did last year, mirroring similar announcements from a number of its competitors.
Wal-Mart is slashing prices again this year on popular items like tablets, TVs, home appliances and toys. The deep discounts will be offered at specific times on Thursday and Friday.
The store promises to stock 65% more TVs and double the number of tablets compared to last year, according to Duncan MacNaughton, Wal-Mart’s chief merchandising officer.
The evening will be broken into phases, during which select items will be guaranteed at a certain price point for an hour to customers who are in line at the time. A total of 21 items have made the deep discounts list this year, compared to just three last year.
Phase 1: At 6 pm. on Thanksgiving, 10 items will be made available on special sale. Buy an Apple 16 GB Wi-Fi enabled iPad mini, which sells for $299, and get a Wal-Mart $100 gift card along with it.
A 60-inch Vizio flat panel TV will sell for $688, a $310 savings, and a Funai 32-inch HD TV for $98.
HP Pavillion TouchSmart laptops will be $278, more than $300 below the regular price.
The popular video game Call of Duty Ghosts will be $39.96, a $20 savings, and a Furby Boom for $29, $30 off full price.
Phase 2: At 8 p.m., three items will be discounted: Beats by Dr. Dre headphones for $114.95 ($85 off), a Galaxy Centura prepaid phone for $29 ($70 off) and a 7-inch RCA tablet for $49 ($50 off).
Phase 3: At 8 a.m. on Black Friday, people will get a $75 Wal-Mart gift card if they buy the Apple iPhone 5C or 5S with two year contracts with AT&T or Verizon. The phones will be sold at their regular Wal-Mart prices.
A $20 Wal-Mart gift card will be given with a $169 Keurig brewing system, and $10 gift card with a $79 SodaStream kit.
Customers will also get up to $127 off for each tire.
Online deals: Starting on Thanksgiving morning, certain online-only deals will also be offered, including $75 off an iPad 2. A Samsung 40-inch HD TV will be $379, a discount of $50.
Photo by tshein