Never one to miss a promotional opportunity, Walmart is kicking off the back-to-school shopping period with a variety of specials savings for both online and in-store customers starting August 1st. The company also says its Savings Catcher price-comparison tool—which automatically checks other local stores to see if you could have gotten a better deal elsewhere—will be available nationwide starting this week. If so, they'll refund you the difference in the form of a Walmart e-gift card.
With its promotion, Walmart is targeting those headed back to college especially, with a focus on electronics, dorm gear, and school supplies. The retailer has identified the first week of August as the prime shopping time for back-to-school purchases. In-store deals will be augmented by an online event on August 4. In addition, the promotion is timed to coincide with the start of sales-tax holidays for those who live in one of the 16 states that allow and participate in tax-free events.
Among the highlighted deals:
- 40-inch Hisense LCD/LED TV for $239.
- Nextbook 8 tablet for $79.
- 10-inch RCA tablet with keyboard for $99.
- $399 Dell laptop bundle (with a wireless mouse, a one-year subscription to McAfee LiveSafe Antivirus, and a laptop sleeve).
- Roku 1 streaming media player for $39 (normally priced at $48).
- $349 Apple iPad with Retina display (originally $399).
- Canon 2920 wireless printer for $39.
Returning-to-school gamers can get a free one-year membership to Xbox Live (a $59.96 value) with the purchase of an Xbox One console for $399. Buying a Samsung Galaxy Ace Style phone for $150 will get you a $30 Walmart gift card.
Walmart's cyber deals on August 4 include:
- 32-inch Sceptre LCD/LED TV for $149, a 17 percent savings.
- $100 off a Straight Talk pre-paid Apple iPhone 5C for $549 and iPhone 5S for $649.
- $40 off a GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition action camcorder (via a gift card).
- HMDX Bluetooth Headphones for $20, 60 percent off the usual price.
- HP Deskjet 1512 Inkjet all-in-one printer for $25, 50 percent off its normal price.
- 9-inch tablet with 8GB memory, case, and keyboard for $79, a 20 percent savings.
Walmart also announced nationwide availability of its Savings Catcher savings tool. Using either the Walmart app or visiting the Savings Catcher website, you enter the receipt number from a Walmart receipt, plus the date you bought the items, and Savings Catcher will review the eligible items and compare the price you paid to the advertised prices in the weekly print ads of other major local retailers located near you. If the competitor has the item for less, Walmart will refund the difference via a Walmart e-gift card.
If you'll be doing some back-to-school buying, visit our back-to-school shopping guide, which covers everything from laptops and tablets to cars. There are even some top suggestions for great budget headphones, which the members of this household, at least, consider a back-to-school essential.
—James K. Willcox