Attention Walmart shoppers!

People stand in front of a Walmart store before the doors open at 5am on the day known as 'Black Friday' November 25, 2005 in Miami, Fla.

Steve Chiotakis: It's only early November, but some stores have already offered holiday merchandise
for weeks and weeks. And this weekend, retail behemoth Wal-Mart is trying to get a head start
on the holiday shopping season.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.


Jennifer Collins: Every holiday season, this is what you hear:

Macy's Ad: Wake up early.

CBS: Shop early.

Car dealership ad: Christmas comes early.

This year, Walmart is trying to get a jump on Black Friday with a big sale three weeks early. This Saturday, select items will be discounted just like the day after Thanksgiving.

Candace Corlett is with WSL Strategic Retail.

Candace Corlett: The early retailer gets the worm, er, gets the shoppers, absolutely.

Britt Beemer, head of America's Research Group, says retailers are getting aggressive because there may only be so many worms -- um, dollars -- in shoppers' pockets.

Beemer: Seventy-four percent of consumers say they're trying to stay away from credit cards as much as they can, so what's finite is how much they have in their checking account at any given moment.

The National Retail Federation predicts the average consumer will spend $704 this holiday season -- that's almost $15 less than last year, and $50 less than before the recession. And consultant Candace Corlett says Walmart hopes the sale this weekend is a hook for more: To even sneak a peek at the specials, shoppers have to hand over their email addresses.

Corlett: They will receive lots of offers from Walmart throughout the holidays.

To keep them coming back.

Corlett: There is this fantasy, though, that then you stop. You do it early and then you stop. And that's not what happens.

And Corlett says if it gets people shopping, other retailers will try it too.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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