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Retailers Kick Off Black Friday in October Again, This Time With Too Much Stuff


Black Friday may be more than six weeks away, but retailers are already rolling out the deals.

Target Corp.

TGT 0.50%

said Monday that it was beginning its Black Friday sale, which will include half-priced electronics and toys.

Walmart Inc.

WMT 0.59%

also said it was offering sales this week for holiday shoppers.

The moves come after


AMZN -0.78%

com Inc. said last month that it would offer another Prime Day-like event, which is slated to take place this week. 


Will you take advantage of early Black Friday deals? Join the conversation below.

Some retailers have pushed their Black Fridays sales earlier in recent years in a bid to draw customers and compete with Amazon.

Target announced this year’s Black Friday deals three weeks earlier than last year. The company said in June that with consumer spending slowing, it would need to offer discounts to get rid of unwanted goods. 

Target sells its products online and at its nearly 2,000 bricks-and-mortar stores.

Retailers have been overwhelmed with excess inventory this year as shoppers have shifted their spending habits. Earlier in the pandemic, customers used their savings and stimulus checks to buy home items and casual clothes from retailers. Now more of them are instead spending on services like travel and entertainment as they have been squeezed by surging inflation that remains close to a four-decade high.

A Black Friday shopper at a Walmart in Torrance, Calif., worked to load their vehicle on Nov. 26, 2021.


apu gomes/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Target said that it would roll out both daily and weekly deals now through the week of Black Friday, which is on Nov. 25 this year. Some of the offers include steep markdowns on TVs and air fryers and 50% off Beats by Dre headphones.

Walmart said Monday that it was offering four days of discounts this week for early holiday shoppers. The company is selling discounted Apple Watches, electric bikes and other products.

Amazon is marking the start of the holiday shopping season with a second sales event this year for its Prime subscription members. The retail giant will offer a “Prime Early Access Sale” on Tuesday and Wednesday, following its Prime Day event in July.

Prime Day isn’t exactly the blockbuster it once was, as sales growth has slowed and people haven’t been purchasing orders as large as they once did. But the two-day event does continue Amazon’s recent trend of holding sales events over multiple days as a way to maximize revenue.

Stores shifted their Black Friday strategies in recent years as the pandemic accelerated a move from in-store shopping to online shopping. Instead of offering door-buster deals at bricks-and-mortar stores, many retailers have offered discounts both online and in stores.

However, this year’s shopping trends could look different than in past years as retailers try to adapt to shifting consumer preferences.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley said in a report Monday that retail profits will decline as many companies race to cut prices faster than their peers, a phenomenon they called “a race to the bottom.” The firm said this dynamic could hurt margins and fuel an earnings slowdown.

If retailers don’t offer aggressive discounts, they risk paying high costs to hold excess inventory, the analysts said.

If it seems like there are more sales lately, it’s because there are. General retailers are shedding excess inventory. Why? Just blame the bullwhip effect. WSJ’s Jon Hilsenrath explains what it is, and what it means for the economy.

—Sarah Nassauer contributed to this article.

Write to Alyssa Lukpat at [email protected]

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