Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Wal-Mart ups the ante with free shipping offer

wal-mart_hybrid_assist_truck.top.jpgWal-Mart announced free online shipping Thursday on 60,000 holiday items, with no minimum purchase required. By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Wal-Mart announced free online shipping Thursday on 60,000 holiday items with no minimum purchase required, a significant move that's likely to rattle its competitors in the crucial year-end sales race to Christmas.

Wal-Mart (WMT, Fortune 500), the world's largest retailer, said the offer is valid now through Dec. 20 at Walmart.com and includes all electronics except iPods and iPads, select video games, toys, home appliances, furniture, baby products, jewelry and other items.

Target trots out $3 appliances on Black Friday

Some of the items covered by the offer: a Sony Bravia 46-inch 1080p LCD HDTV for $898, an HP Garden Dreams 14.5-inch Pavilion Special Edition Laptop with Windows 7 for $598 and the Sony Handycam 4GB Flash Memory Camcorder for $249.

Wal-Mart said the new initiatives, which includes free return shipping as well, is designed to complement its "Site to Store Program", which provides free shipping to a Wal-Mart store on items purchased online.

Consumers should be aware of other exceptions to the free shipping program.

Wal-Mart said the offer is not valid on tires and shipping surcharges may still apply in Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

"Customers are doing all they can to save money this holiday, so we're excited to offer free shipping to home, with no minimum purchase requirement as an early Christmas present to them," Steve Nave, general manager of Walmart.com said in a statement.

However, Wal-Mart also needs to pull out all stops in order to lift sales in its most important sales period of the year.

So far this year, Wal-Mart has struggled to lift sales at its discount stores and has even lost market share to its other value-priced and dollar store competitors.

And the November-December period can account for 50% or more of retailers' sales and profit for the full year.

Wal-Mart executives last month expressed a sense of urgency in doing what was needed to ensure that the retailer becomes highly competitive in the run-up to Christmas.

For its holiday strategy, Wal-Mart U.S. head Bill Simon said Wal-Mart was placing heavy emphasis on toys and electronics.

"Customers will see our offerings and be very happy," he said. The company recently rolled out Apple's (AAPL, Fortune 500) iPad into about 2,500 Wal-Mart stores.

Sam's Club executives also said the iPad would be in Sam's Club locations over the holidays.

Wal-Mart is also setting up a "Santa's gift shop" display in its stores to showcase the hottest holiday toys, he said. To top of page

Index Last Change % Change
Dow 24,651.74 143.08 0.58%
Nasdaq 6,936.58 80.06 1.17%
S&P 500 2,675.81 23.80 0.90%
Treasuries 2.36 0.01 0.38%
Data as of 12:40am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 29.04 0.31 1.08%
General Electric Co 17.82 0.18 1.02%
Oracle Corp 48.30 -1.89 -3.77%
Micron Technology In... 42.40 0.16 0.38%
Microsoft Corp 86.85 2.16 2.55%
Data as of Dec 15
Sponsors

Sections

More than 5% of DACA recipients have started their own businesses since enrolling the program, according to a recent survey. More

Republicans said their plan would make taxes easy to prepare, and indeed the final bill gets points for some simplification. But the whole story, like the tax code, is more complex. More

Uber is being sued by Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving car unit that was formerly part of Google. Waymo alleges that Uber stole trade secrets about its self-driving technology. More

Homeowners would be able to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage under the final tax bill -- down from the current $1 million threshold. More