NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) - Get Report  is benefiting from making Black Friday deals available early on Thanksgiving. 

The retail giant, along with Target (TGT) - Get Report is taking this initiative for the first time ever in an effort to compete with rival e-commerce giant Amazon.com (AMZN). 

As of 11 a.m. Eastern, Adobe, which monitors 4,500 U.S. e-commerce sites, said that online sales across the retail sector were up 24% for the day. 

Black Friday deals in stores began at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, also helping Wal-Mart's strong initial sales.

"We've said this Black Friday would be the most integrated between Walmart stores and Walmart.com - and we delivered," Chief Merchandising Officer Steve Bratspies stated. "Tens of millions of customers visited our digital and physical aisles to pick up video games and systems, televisions, movies and toys, many of the top items sold both on Walmart.com and in stores."

Wal-Mart shares are declining 0.1% to $60.18 on Friday morning. 

Separately, TheStreet Ratings team rates WAL-MART STORES INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

We rate WAL-MART STORES INC (WMT) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed - some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its attractive valuation levels, good cash flow from operations and largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including a generally disappointing performance in the stock itself, poor profit margins and feeble growth in the company's earnings per share.

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • Net operating cash flow has increased to $4,903.00 million or 37.33% when compared to the same quarter last year. The firm also exceeded the industry average cash flow growth rate of 10.30%.
  • The debt-to-equity ratio is somewhat low, currently at 0.66, and is less than that of the industry average, implying that there has been a relatively successful effort in the management of debt levels. Even though the company has a strong debt-to-equity ratio, the quick ratio of 0.17 is very weak and demonstrates a lack of ability to pay short-term obligations.
  • The gross profit margin for WAL-MART STORES INC is currently lower than what is desirable, coming in at 27.53%. Regardless of WMT's low profit margin, it has managed to increase from the same period last year. Despite the mixed results of the gross profit margin, WMT's net profit margin of 2.81% compares favorably to the industry average.
  • Looking at the price performance of WMT's shares over the past 12 months, there is not much good news to report: the stock is down 28.58%, and it has underformed the S&P 500 Index. In addition, the company's earnings per share are lower today than the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock's sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: WMT