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Black Friday at Wal-Mart revealed?

Web sites say hot deals will include $398 HP laptop, 12-cup coffeemaker for $4.24.

November 1, 2005: 12:15 PM EST

ByParija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer


NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Someone may have let the cat out of Wal-Mart's Black Friday bag early -- and it looks like the No. 1 retailer's ready to aggressively battle on prices in the weeks ahead by going very low on some hot products.


And here's what to expect: A Hewlett-Packard Pavillion ze2308wm notebook computer for $398; an HP Photosmart E317 digital camera for $98.88; a Lexmark all-in-one printer, scanner and copier for $39.88; and a 12-cup coffeemaker, food chopper or 2 qt. slow cooker for just $4.24.


Typically Wal-Mart (Research) and other retailers debut the eagerly awaited day-after-Thanksgiving specials a few days in advance. Wal-Mart hasn't officially debuted its Black Friday ads, but the information appears to have been leaked to a few Web sites.


Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sharon Webber told CNN/Money that she was not aware that the information about the retailer's specific Black Friday sales was already public information. However, Webber said she would refer the matter to her colleagues.


"Last year Wal-Mart didn't discount heavily on Black Friday and the first week after. What happened? Comparable sales fell 3 percent," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with market research firm NPD Group. "This year Wal-Mart's making sure that it's not caught with pants down again. I'm shocked to see how low Wal-Mart is prepared to go this year."


The day after Thanksgiving is dubbed "Black Friday" because it's when retailers are said to finally move out of the red (representing losses) and into the black (profits). It also marks the start of the four-week shopping blitzkrieg leading up to Christmas.


Brad Olson, the founder of Gottadeal.com, a Web site that markets itself as the "official Black Friday deals site," told CNN/Money that he obtained Wal-Mart's Black Friday sales ad last week from "someone close to the production process for the ads."


"That's why I'm confident that these Wal-Mart deals are legitimate," Olson said.


According to Gottadeal.com, which posted the list of Wal-Mart's Black Friday bonanza on blackfriday.gottadeal.com, the retailer is apparently hoping to lure holiday shoppers by slashing prices on consumer electronics, DVDs, home products and toys.


Cohen said he saw the list on the Internet about a week ago and believes it to be legitimate.


"I don't think Wal-Mart intended for it to get out this early because there's an element of surprise involved. It definitely does create a buzz, but it also give its competition time to respond," said Cohen. "I think Wal-Mart will use some products to pull holiday shoppers in and use these as big bargain loss-leaders."


But he doesn't expect Wal-Mart to offer bargain basement on the must-have items like Apple's iPod Nano, which the retailer recently announced will be part of its "Home for the Holidays" campaign set to kick off Tuesday.


"You don't want to destroy the pricing structure on hot products by discounting everything deeply," Cohen said. "The rule of thumb is don't be overly promotional if you don't need to."

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Perhaps you should link to the adscans from the homepage rather than have so many people try (and fail) to register for the message boards at once. For a new visitor, these adscans would be quite difficult to find, as it requires navigating message board posts.

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BTW, The article has been updated..


Wal-Mart spokeswoman Gail Lavielle told CNN/Money that the information on Gottadeal.com "did not come from us." "We have not released any information about Black Friday," she said. "As long as something is not officially released by us, we can't vouch for it."

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