Retail giant Wal-Mart Stores is betting big this holiday season and working to leverage its footprint of 4,700 stores with a growing online business.
The retailer said Wednesday (Nov. 1) it plans to roll back prices on 400 toys, starting this weekend. Wal-Mart also plans to throw more than 20,000 parties in its U.S. Supercenters, raising the “retailtainment” bar to a new high this holiday season.
“Serving customers is our everyday passion at Wal-Mart, and during the holiday season we work even harder to deliver what our customers want most…to save time and money,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer, Walmart U.S. “We’re leveraging our more than 4,700 stores and Walmart.com to deliver more assortment, exclusives, convenience and savings than ever before.”
Wal-Mart said it wants to give customers the opportunity to test and taste top items this year. There will be 165,000 product demonstrations throughout the season, and there are three specific party dates planned:
- Toys that Rock on Nov. 4
- Parties that Rock on Dec. 2
- Gifts that Rock on Dec. 16
The retailer said the “Toys that Rock” event will provide customers with a toy catalog and sticker sheets for kids to mark their favorite toys. There will be toys available for kids to try and Santa will be on hand for selfies as he will make 24,000 visits to stores through the holiday season.
The “Parties that Rock” event will share tips and inspiration so that customers can entertain all season long, while “Gifts that Rock” will feature a curated assortment of the top gifts available at customers’ local Supercenters. Wal-Mart said there will be product rollbacks associated with the two events as well.
Wal-Mart is also expanding its inventory with shoppers seeing Yankee Candle, KitchenAid, Cuisinart and Bose speakers in select stores this year. The retailer said it has also increased the number of exclusive products offered this year, and there are more than 2 million items available online which are eligible for two-day delivery.
The retailer is not waiving its $35 minimum to get free shipping, but said it will offer pickup discounts to those shoppers who choose to pick up merchandise in stores.
The retailer is not hiring additional holiday staff this year, but said it will be giving its employees the opportunity to work more shifts. Holiday helpers will be back in the front of stores directing shoppers to the shortest checkout lines.
Layaway will continue to be available through Dec. 11, offering customers the opportunity to stay on budget and pay over time for big ticket items.