Forget about starting Christmas shopping early, now even Black Friday shopping has kicked off early.
Retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Get Report) and Target Corp. (TGT - Get Report) have -- three weeks early -- launched their Black Friday stores online with "sneak peeks" and other deals, while Kohl's Corp. (KSS - Get Report) published its holiday deals circular Thursday, Nov. 1. (For the record, actual Black Friday shopping at Kohl's starts Nov. 19 online and 5 p.m. on Nov. 22 in stores. Black Friday's official date is Nov. 23, according to tradition and BlackFriday.com).
In addition to lower prices, retailers were offering other gimmicks as well to win over shoppers for the holidays. Target is offering a scheme for faster store checkouts by letting staff scan items in the cart and accept credit cards from anywhere in the shop. The retailer also will let shoppers find "select" Black Friday deals Thursday in store and online and revive its Weekend Deals program from Nov. 10 to Dec. 15.
WalMart Inc. (WMT - Get Report) , which rolled out its holiday PR campaign earlier in the week, has touted incentives such as expanding into the millions the number of products sent with free two-day shipping.
Shoppers are expected to spend on average $625 on holiday presents this year, and up to $472 on Black Friday deals and up to $415 on Cyber Monday deals, according to a survey by BlackFriday.com.
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