Walmart Stores, the largest retailer in the world, have announced an aggressive plan for the holidays which includes free shipping for the top 100 items and price cuts for 20,000 products, as the company looks to gain a huge share of the profits during the upcoming shopping frenzy.
In addition, beginning Nov. 14, Walmart will also begin matching all prices on products being sold online by websites such as Amazon within its stores.
The managers of about 5,000 Walmart outlets across the country were informed by the company that they could match the prices of online retailers, in a directive that looked to formalize the practice.
According to Greg Foran, Walmart's head of the U.S. business, about half of the retail stores were already carrying out the practice before the formalization from the company's management.
"Being the price leader is an ongoing priority for us and a commitment to our business," said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.
"And with every year, that is even more important during the holiday season."
McMillon also said that while the increase in sales for stores of the company is encouraging, he is still not yet satisfied with how the stores are performing.
McMillion said that Walmart stores should continue improving the customer experience, both within the stores and online, for the company to achieve higher sales growth to strengthen Walmart's bottom line performance.
In the third quarter, Walmart reported a net profit that surpassed expectations by Wall Street analysts. However, the company released a fourth-quarter profit guidance that was lower than expected because the company is looking to implement massive discounts in the upcoming holiday season to boost sales.
Walmart, which serves as a barometer of nationwide consumer spending, has recently been struggling as its mostly low-income shoppers continue to face financial pressure due to stagnant wages and a reduction in food stamps from the government.
However, Walmart believes that the lower gas prices that have been prevailing recently will add more money into the pockets of consumers that they can spend on items that can be bought in Walmart stores.
Charles Holley, the CFO for Walmart, said in a call with reporters that the company is already benefitting from the lower prices of gasoline. In addition to more spending power for the consumers, the lower prices also mean that it easier for customers to get to their stores, improving daily traffic.
Walmart has recently released a flyer for what it is calling the "New Black Friday," spreading the annual shopping day starting from Nov. 26 through Dec. 1, which is this year's Cyber Monday.
"Black Friday is no longer about waking up at the crack of dawn to stand in long lines and hope for the best. At Wal-Mart, it has become a family shopping tradition where everyone shops at some point throughout the weekend. This year, we're blowing it out with five days of deals in store and online. We'll have crazy low prices on the gifts our customers want," Walmart chief merchandising officer Duncan MacNaughton said.