NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wal-Mart (WMT - Get Report), beating other retailers to the punch, has initiated discounting across its stores in a bid to entice holiday shoppers. The retailer is set to discount products across its merchandise on Friday, significantly earlier than usual Thanksgiving sales at the end of November.
The move will partially mitigate losses during a shorter-than-usual holiday shopping period. Thanksgiving, falling on Nov. 28 this year, will mean six fewer days between the unofficial start of the holidays and Christmas. Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger predicts this year's holiday season will generate 1.6% gain in same-store sales for retailers, the worst since 2008.
Beginning Friday, Wal-Mart will offer discounts across categories ranging from electronics to apparel. An 8-inch Nextbook tablet, for example, will cost $99 through Wal-Mart. Purchasing the tablet elsewhere will cost upwards of $139.
"We know that our customers start shopping for the holidays on Nov. 1 because historically our traffic spikes the day after Halloween," said CEO of Wal-Mart.com Joel Anderson in a statement. "We are helping them make the most of their time and helping them stretch their dollars further."Separately, the company has commissioned three new U.S. manufacturing projects as part of its 'Made in the USA' initiative, a promise to purchase $50 billion more domestically-made products by 2023. The three suppliers Wal-Mart partnered with will produce footwear, curtains and glassware. "Since Wal-Mart announced its commitment earlier this year to buy an additional $50 billion in U.S.-made products over the next 10 years, manufacturers have committed to investments in the U.S. that will create more than 1,600 jobs," said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker at an investment summit on Thursday. TheStreet Ratings team rates Wal-Mart Stores Inc as a Buy with a ratings score of A. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation: "We rate Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT) a BUY. This is based on the convergence of positive investment measures, which should help this stock outperform the majority of stocks that we rate. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, notable return on equity, good cash flow from operations, growth in earnings per share and increase in net income. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated." Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows: