Wal-Mart unleashes Cyber Monday deals

No. 1 retailer unveils a 5-day sales blitz exclusively on its Web site on one of the busiest online shopping days; Walmart.com crashes on Black Friday

By Parija B. Kavilanz, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart, not yet done with its holiday price slashing, marked "Cyber Monday" by unveiling a 5-day sales blitz available exclusively for shoppers on its Web site.

Cyber Monday is the online retail world's version of Black Friday, and is one of the busiest sales days of the year for etailers.

Customers seeking specials like these contributed to the "traffic surge" on the site.

From Monday through Friday, the retailer has set discounts on a variety of electronics, jewelry, toys and clothing.

The deals include a 42-inch Hitachi Plasma HDTV for $1,198.00; Philips 3 MP digital camera for $49.00; Kodak V570 5 MP digital camera for $218.00; cashmere scarves for $16.88 and a 2-karat diamond bracelet for $998.00.

Despite being one of the first retailers to unveil its aggressive Black Friday deals weeks ahead of everybody else, Wal-Mart still delivered a disappointing November sales forecast on Saturday.

The company estimated that November sales at its stores open at least a year - a key retail measure known as same-store sales - including Black Friday fell 0.1 percent at its U.S. stores. Wal-Mart's initial forecast was for sales to be flat year over year.

Wal-Mart, Target (Charts), Costco (Charts), J.C. Penney (Charts), Sears (Charts) and other national retail chains are expected to report their November same-store sales results on Thursday.

Black Friday Web crash

Wal-Mart's challenge on Cyber Monday is to prevent its Web site from crashing, as it did on Black Friday.

Walmart.com was periodically unavailable on one of the busiest shopping days of the year "due to a higher than anticipated traffic surge," a Wal-Mart representative said Friday.

At approximately 6 a.m. ET on Black Friday, Wal-Mart (Charts) online shoppers received a message that read "Walmart.com is temporarily unavailable while we make important upgrades to our site."

The Web site was up and down throughout the morning and afternoon, at times displaying a text-only version with no images.

An e-mail response to inquiries to the site said: "We sincerely apologize that our Web site and systems were not available during your recent visit to Walmart.com... we are presently working as quickly as possible to update our website and customer service systems."

According to Alexa.com, a website traffic monitoring service, www.wal-mart.com is the 7th most popular shopping website on the Internet.

The company launched the site in February 1995.

Earlier this month, the company announced its biggest price-cut ever, temporarily reducing prices on about 50 name-brand home appliances.

For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, sales are projected at $312.4 billion.

According to the company, Wal-Mart accounts for 3.5 percent of the global economy of retail, an industry of roughly $465 billion. Wal-Mart also competes with Kohl's (Charts).

-- CNN's Katy Byron contributed to this report


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