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HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

Walmart really doesn't want you to shop at Best Buy or Target this Black Friday

The retail giant is matching its major competitors' Black Friday sales a week early, with TVs a major focus

Published: November 19, 2014 02:00 PM

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The calm before the storm: A Walmart store getting ready for its pre-Black Friday sale.

Think Black Friday is competitive? Walmart just turned up the heat by saying it will match some of its competitors' best Black Friday deals on electronics and toys a full week early with a pre-Black Friday sale that runs from Friday Nov. 21 at 8 a.m. through Nov. 27, or as long as the sale items last.

At a media event on Nov. 18 at a Walmart store in North Bergen, N.J., company executives said that significantly more items would be available in its pre-Black Friday sale than last year, adding that the company bought deeper so that stores will have more items in stock. Walmart also recently announced that it is allowing store managers to match online prices from other retailers, including Amazon.

Full details, including model names and exact prices, will be revealed on Walmart.com the evening of Nov. 20. Among the highlighted bigger-ticket items are an unnamed 40-inch LED HDTV, 60-inch TVs from LG and Sony, a Sony PlayStation 4 offer, and a Canon wireless printer. (We imagine that the 40-inch TV will be the 40-inch Element 1080p set we saw advertised by Target for its Black Friday sale or a comparable model.)

See all Consumer Reports Recommended TVs.

Find the right TV with our TV buying guide and Ratings. And learn the best places to shop for electronics. Visit our Holiday Gift Ideas page for more news on deals and advice on ways to save.

 

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Walmart also says that it is moving up some of its Black Friday-like sales during the same shopping period, again with a focus on electronics. Some of the sale items include a 58-inch Samsung smart LED/LCD TV for $698, a 40-inch Samsung LED/LCD TV with “Frozen Sing-Along Edition” for $298, and a new iPad Air 2 (16GB) with Wi-Fi for $489, plus a $100 Walmart gift card.

We can't be sure, but the 58-inch Samsung set could be the UN58H5202AFXZA, a 60Hz 1080 smart TV that Walmart currently sells for $798. The least expensive 40-inch Samsung set we could find at Walmart is the UN40H5003AFXZA, a 60Hz 1080p LED/LCD TV that normally sells for $398. The "Frozen" disc typically sells for about $15.

There are also a several deals on iPhones, including a $75 Walmart gift card with the purchase of an iPhone 6 or 5s. If you're willing to sign a two-year service agreement with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon, you can get an iPhone 6 for $179 or an iPhone 5s for $79. Both phones will be available for zero money down for AT&T Next or Verizon Edge customers in certain markets.

For those looking to shop on Thanksgiving, Walmart's sales start at 6 p.m., as we previously reported. During an electronics sale that starts at 8 p.m., Walmart has added a new special TV buy, a 60-inch Element TV for $498, a $200 price cut.

Among its online deals is a 55-inch Samung UHD TV for $1,298, a claimed $900 savings. We don't know if it's the same set, but one of Best Buy’s doorbuster specials is the 55-inch UN55HU6830FXZA set, which it will sell for $900. The TV is currently available at Best Buy for $1,400. We assume these will be in limited quantities at Best Buy, so maybe Walmart will have more in stock, though the price is nearly $400 more. We'll update the report if we get more info.

Unlike most retailers, Walmart offers a one-hour guarantee on nine of its popular doorbuster specials for Black Friday. Customers who are in the designated areas of the store between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Nov. 27 are guaranteed they'll get the item, either taking it home from the store that night if it's still available or picking it up from a store at a later date before Christmas. Walmart is providing store maps that show the exact location of the doorbuster specials.

If you're looking to buy a TV or other electronics during the next two weeks, keep checking back for all our Black Friday coverage. And to help you get the best deal, check out our Top 10 Black Friday 2014 shopping tips.

—James K. Willcox

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