Wal-Mart's hiding some Black Friday deals
After Web sites leaked its post-Thanksgiving discounts, Wal-Mart says it'll unveil more "specials" only on walmart.com and not in circulars
By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com staff writer
November 15 2006: 3:33 PM EST
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Outfoxed by numerous Web sites leaking its doorbuster deals three weeks ahead of Black Friday, Wal-Mart is striking back by hiding other discounts until Thanksgiving day.
"A week from Friday is a big day. The internet has exposed everybody's offerings well ahead of time and now the race is to see who gets out first or last. That's going to happen and I don't think there's anyway around it," Wal-Mart's chief marketing officer, John Fleming, told a gathering of analysts at Morgan Stanley's Global Consumer and Retail Conference Wednesday.
"Everybody's seen our circular. They know our prices and we know everybody else's. But then we're going to add special offerings on Thanksgiving day online," he said. "After everyone finishes with the meal, we're going to use [walmart.com] as a channel to unveil special offers that nobody has visibility to yet."
Fleming said the idea was to use this strategy to drive consumers to Wal-Mart stores on Friday. Fleming's presentation was monitored via webcast in New York.
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, indicating profits. It also marks the start of the four-week shopping blitz leading up to Christmas.
Typically for competitive reasons, Wal-Mart (Charts), Target (Charts), J.C. Penney (Charts) and other retailers debut the eagerly awaited day-after-Thanksgiving specials only a few days in advance.
But in recent years, Web sites that market themselves as "official Black Friday deals" sites, such as Gottadeal.com have leaked these retailers' Black Friday circulars almost a month in advance.
A few retailers, including Linens 'n Things, have sent cease-and-desist requests to these Web sites, asking them to remove their circulars.
Among the deals Wal-Mart is offering its shoppers this year is a 42-inch plasma HDTV for $998. Industry watchers say this marks the first instance of a 42-inch flat-panel model priced below $1,000.
Meanwhile, executives from Wal-Mart's rival Target said Tuesday that the company would rush to match Wal-Mart's Black Friday discounts, especially on such big-ticket items.