The holiday shopping season is here, but the marketing started way back in September.
Kohl’s, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s announced in October that they planned to open on Thanksgiving. Kmart aired a holiday ad right after Labor Day and many gadget makers unveiled a slew of gift ideas.
Here’s a look at how retailers are going after your dollars this season.
Old Navy will enter the first 500 people to visit each Old Navy store on Black Friday in a sweepstakes to win $1 million. The sweepstakes is being called “Overnight Millionaire.’’
More than 900 Old Navy stores will open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and more than 700 stores will reopen at 7 that evening and remain open until midnight on Black Friday, Nov. 29, the company said.
Kmart plans to open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open until 11 p.m. on Friday.
The retailer caught a fierce backlash on social media when it began airing a television commercial in early September touting its holiday layaway program. The commercial features a gingerbread man sneaking up on a woman working in an office. The voiceover says, “Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you. Shop early with Kmart free layaway.’’
Sears plans to open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and stay open until 10 p.m. on Friday, the company said.
Customers can also interact with local Sears and Kmart stores through store pages on ShopYourWay.com. Both chains share the same owner.
Secret sales are also being announced on the site, the company said. You can find deals for local stores by clicking on the store tab or putting in your zip code at ShopYourWay.com.
On Nov. 12, Walmart announced that it plans to begin offering holiday blockbuster deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores, two hours earlier than last year. Stores are expected to be open for 24 hours on Thanksgiving at most locations, according to an Associated Press report.
On Nov. 1, the world’s largest retailer launched seven big deals on items like TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, according to an Associated Press report.
The seven deals are available online and include a 42- inch JVC LED TV for $299, a savings of 36 percent, and a 10-inch XELIO tablet for $49, a 51 percent discount.
In a first, Walmart also let children rate their favorite toys to come up with a top 20 list of kid-approved toys. The list was released on Sept. 12 and includes a new robotic pet Furby, a hugging Elmo, and a Barbie dream house. The toys will be promoted in Walmart stores with dedicated shelf space proclaiming the toys “Chosen by Kids,’’ the company said. Those toys will also be marketed on Walmart’s website and its circulars.
In August, Walmart announced it was getting rid of the $5 entry fee for customers wanting to participate in its holiday layaway program. The program runs Sept. 13 to Dec. 13.
Best Buy is offering staggered sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the company said. Doorbuster deals begin at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, mystery doorbusters will be available at midnight, and more doorbusters begin at 10 a.m. on Black Friday.
More than 1,000 Best Buy stores in 47 states will open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday.
Kohl’s announced on Oct. 21 that it will open its doors on Thanksgiving for the first time, according to the Associated Press. Kohl’s joins Macy’s and J.C. Penney in opening in the evening on Thanksgiving. The store plans to open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and remain open all day Friday.
Target plans to open its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksiving, the company said. Some of the retailer’s doorbuster deals for Black Friday include the iPad Mini and iPad Air, Nikon L320 Camera, and Beats by Dre Solo HD Headphones.
On the toy front, Target is topping its list of top toys for the holiday season with Sesame Street’s Big Hugs Elmo, Hasbro’s Furby Boom, which is a robotic toy pet, and a Mattel Monster High doll called Power Ghouls. The doll will be sold exclusively at Target.
To promote its ‘‘hot toys,’’ Target is featuring Jonna Mendez, a former CIA agent turned toy expert, who is giving tips to parents on how to figure out which toys kids really want at abullseyeview.com in October and November.
The retailer announced on Oct. 18 that it will open most of its 1,100 stores at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving and will be open 25 hours straight, closing at 9 p.m. the following day.
J.C. Penney is also bringing back a tradition it ditched last year: It will give away nearly 2 million holiday snow globes starting at 4 a.m. on the Friday after the turkey feast.
The department store announced on Oct. 14 that most stores nationwide will be open for business beginning at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving. The retailer also announced some of its Black Friday doorbusters, including deals on Martha Stewart Collection Collector’s cast iron casseroles and jewelry.
Toys ‘R’ Us
Toys ‘R’ Us plans to open its stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and offer more than 300 doorbuster “values’’ while supplies last, the company said.
Toys “R’’ Us gave business retail reporters a preview of its holiday initiatives at a special event on Sept. 12. Their plans include boosting merchandise in the education, tablet, and construction categories, such as Lego and Mega Bloks. The retailer said it also plans to install 32-foot shops inside their stores to showcase tablets for customers.
A free layaway program is also being offered and customers shopping online can place orders on the company’s website and pick them up in the store in under an hour, the company said. The retailer is also extending the window for returning purchases to Jan. 25.
OPI, which makes nail polish, partnered with Mariah Carey to create 18 limited-edition shades for the holidays. Colors in the collection include shades of red and gold with names like “My Favorite Ornament,’’ “All I Want For Christmas (Is OPI),’’ and “Cute Little Vixen.’’
Carey, whose song “All I Want for Christmas is You’’ is a holiday standard, graces the cover of the September-October edition of OPI’s publication wearing a Santa-inspired red dress with white fur trim.
Intel revealed its holiday pricing strategy at the 2013 Intel Developer Forum in September, according to a story in the DailyTech. The company is offering tablets for $99, traditional budget laptops for $199, laptop-tablet combination devices for $299, and Ultrabook laptops for $399.
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