MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: The video above aired Aug. 17, 2022.
Target and Walmart plan to offer deals and price matching offers a bit earlier this year to keep up with Americans pressed by soaring inflation and looking for ways to ease the potential sting of holiday shopping.
Inflation that is hovering near four-decade highs, experts believe, could push families to get an earlier start on shopping with hopes of avoiding even higher prices later.
The holiday sales strategies, announced Thursday, come amid what is expected to be slower holiday sales growth compared with a year ago. AlixPartners, the global consulting firm, forecasts that holiday sales will be up anywhere from 4% to 7%, far below last year's growth of 16%. The current inflation rate of 8.3% means retailers would see a decrease in real sales.
Target said it will begin offering its annual holiday deal days between Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, a few days earlier than a year ago and will also start price matching then, also a couple days early. The Minneapolis-based retailer has one of the most generous price-matching offers in retail, countering offers from more than two dozen other stores. That also applies to purchases at Target.com.
"Throughout the season, guests will discover new and differentiated items for gifting and gathering, including only-at-Target owned brands and must-have national brands, and they can expect great deals and everyday low prices at every turn for an unmatched holiday shopping experience,” shared Target executive vice president and chief growth officer Christina Hennington.
Walmart is offering a wider assortment of items this year with more new brands and more Walmart-exclusives than a year ago, according to Tom Ward, the company's chief e-commerce officer. The company is deepening discounts on such items as toys, home goods, electronics and beauty. It said that more than half the toys on Walmart’s list of expected hot holiday toys are under $50 – with many under $25 — and nearly all of the toys are available to shop now or through pre-order on walmart.com.
Walmart, the nation's largest retailer that is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, is also expanding the window for returns by more than a month. Gift returns will now be accepted between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, compared with last year's return window of Nov. 1 to Jan. 24, the company said.
When it comes to holiday staffing, Target plans to hire up to 100,000 seasonal employees in stores and distribution centers this holiday season, in line with a year ago.
Walmart is taking a more cautious hiring approach in 2022, saying this week that it would hire 40,000 U.S. workers for the holidays, a majority of them seasonal workers.
Last year, Walmart said it would hire roughly 150,000 new U.S. store workers, most of them permanent, full-time positions, on top of 20,000 permanent distribution and warehouse workers as the pandemic disrupted supply chains.
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