Not to be outdone by other large retailers, Walmart Stores announced Tuesday that it will kick off its Black Friday deals one week early.
The retailer said it will mark down prices on a number of toys and electronics starting Nov. 22, in stores and online.
"Black Friday is our Super Bowl, and we plan to win," said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising and marketing officer for Walmart U.S.
The news follows Sears and Kmart's (SHLD) announcement last week that they would offer Black Friday deals to "Shop Your Way" rewards customers one week early. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Walmart (WMT) had said just a week ago that it would kick off its Black Friday sales at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
The list of retailers pushing Black Friday sales earlier may not be over, and it appears consumers are responding. According to a study by the National Retail Federation last week, 53.8 percent had already started their holiday shopping.
Paired with a shorter holiday calendar this year, with six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, retailers are doing anything they can to remain competitive.
In its release, Walmart also said it will extend its ad match to website sales.
Black Friday is an excellent time to buy a new TV, as we predict a variety of size categories will hit their lowest price points. But don't expect the best deals to be tagged with name brands. Typically, the rock-bottom prices apply to third-tier manufacturers; brand-name TVs tend to see their best price of the year in late December as manufacturers look to clear stock before revealing 2014 models.
There's no shortage of digital camera deals around Black Friday, but premium current-generation cameras are just a few months away from being replaced by a new line of 2014 models. If you're eyeing a brand new digital SLR, we recommend waiting until after CES and into February for 2013 cameras to become "old," and thus receive aggressive discounts from retailers.
For those of you looking to get a leg up on any fitness New Year's resolutions, you should resolve to wait to buy any fitness equipment. During Black Friday weekend 2012, we listed just two Editors' Choice fitness deals, while December and January each saw more than five times that amount on a variety of gear including heart rate monitors, ab machines, ellipticals, and yoga equipment.
While we don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate a seasonal throw blanket, we don't recommend giving them as gifts this year unless you've got a stock of them in the closet from last season. Not only does holiday decor get cheaper after the holiday in question, but bedding and blankets fall to their lowest prices of the year come January and February during "White Sales," which have been a colorful tradition since the 1950s.
Perhaps better received than throw blankets, gift baskets and wine subscriptions are especially popular during the holidays. But as the giver, you'll get a better deal on specialty foods (i.e. Omaha Steak gift bundles, fruit baskets, and assorted baked goods) if you wait until December; last year we saw twice as many Editors' Choice deals close to Christmas than around Thanksgiving.
If you have your sights set on a trip to California or Florida, by all means purchase airfare around Black Friday and even closer to Christmas; last year we saw up to 50 percent off coupons from Frontier, JetBlue, and Virgin America. However, if it's an international getaway you're after, we advise you to hold off on booking your flight until the new year. Last year, we saw zero Editors' Choice airfare deals between Thanksgiving and New Year's. But in the first two months of the year, Air Canada offered the lowest base rate we'd seen for flights to Toronto; JetBlue took 80 percent off select flights to the Caribbean; and Lufthansa offered roundtrip fares to Europe for $471.