Wal-Mart to offer holiday deals Thanksgiving night

NEW YORK (AP) ? Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will be kicking off the official start to the holiday shopping season with special deals starting on Thanksgiving night. It’s the latest retailer to woo crowds earlier than last year in a bid to get a jump on the competition.

The world’s largest retailer said that it will be offering discounts on toys, home accessories and clothing starting at 10 p.m. on Thanksgiving. That will be followed by midnight deals on electronics. Starting at 8 a.m. on the day after the holiday, it will expand the specials for the entire family that will run through the weekend. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart, whose supercenters already operate around the clock, opened most of its other stores by midnight Thanksgiving evening last year and wooed shoppers with holiday deals.

“Our customers told us they would rather stay up late to shop than get up early, so we’re going to hold special events on Thanksgiving and Black Friday,” said Duncan MacNaughton, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, in a statement.

Wal-Mart’s plans follow recent announcements from Best Buy Co., Macy’s Inc., Target Corp. and Kohl’s Corp., all of which are opening at midnight after Thanksgiving for the first time.

Gap Inc., which operates Banana Republic, Old Navy and its namesake stores, said on Tuesday that it plans to open nearly 1,000 stores across all its brands on Thanksgiving in the U.S. That’s about 10 percent more than a year ago, according to Louise Callagy, Gap spokeswoman.