Wal-Mart steps up competition for holiday shopping

Posted: November 12, 2013 at 9:22 a.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it will start offering its holiday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores — two hours earlier than last year.

The world's largest retailer will stagger deals throughout the night and into "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving that's traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

The company also said that it will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent and double the number of tablet computers for sale that weekend. It's also bulking up the list of guaranteed popular items that it will sell in designated sections of its store to 21, from three last year.

Wal-Mart is responding to what's expected to be a fiercely competitive shopping season. Black Friday has traditionally been the official kickoff to the period, but in the past few years, that start has crept into Thanksgiving. This year, stores including Macy's Inc., J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl's Corp. are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving evening. And other stores, including Best Buy Co., announced earlier on Thanksgiving.