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Black Friday at Wal-Mart revealed?

Web sites say hot deals will include $398 HP laptop, 12-cup coffeemaker for $4.24.
November 1, 2005: 5:24 PM EST
ByParija Bhatnagar, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Someone may have let the cat out of Wal-Mart's Black Friday bag early -- and it looks like the No. 1 retailer is ready to aggressively battle on prices in the weeks ahead by going very low on some hot products.

And here's what to expect: A Hewlett-Packard Pavilion ze2308wm notebook computer for $398; an HP Photosmart E317 digital camera for $98.88; a Lexmark all-in-one printer, scanner and copier for $39.88; and a 12-cup coffeemaker, food chopper or 2 qt. slow cooker for just $4.24.

Typically Wal-Mart (Research) and other retailers debut the eagerly awaited day-after-Thanksgiving specials a few days in advance. Wal-Mart hasn't officially debuted its Black Friday ads, but the information appears to have been leaked to a few Web sites.

"Last year, Wal-Mart didn't discount heavily on Black Friday and the first week after. What happened? Comparable sales fell 3 percent," said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst with market research firm NPD Group. "This year, Wal-Mart's making sure that it's not caught with pants down again. I'm shocked to see how low Wal-Mart is prepared to go this year."

The day after Thanksgiving is dubbed "Black Friday" because it's when retailers are said to finally move out of the red (representing losses) and into the black (profits). It also marks the start of the four-week shopping blitzkrieg leading up to Christmas.

Brad Olson, the founder of, a Web site that markets itself as the "official Black Friday deals site," told CNN/Money that he obtained Wal-Mart's Black Friday ad last week from "someone close to the production process for the ads."

"That's why I'm confident that these Wal-Mart deals are legitimate," Olson said.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Gail Lavielle told CNN/Money that the information on "did not come from us." "We have not released any information about Black Friday," she said. "As long as something is not officially released by us, we can't vouch for it."

According to, which posted the list of Wal-Mart's Black Friday bonanza on, the retailer is apparently hoping to lure holiday shoppers by slashing prices on consumer electronics, DVDs, home products and toys.

Cohen said he saw the list on the Internet about a week ago and believes it to be legitimate.

"I don't think Wal-Mart intended for it to get out this early because there's an element of surprise involved. It definitely does create a buzz, but it also give its competition time to respond," said Cohen. "I think Wal-Mart will use some products to pull holiday shoppers in and use these as big bargain loss-leaders."

But he doesn't expect Wal-Mart to offer bargain basement prices on the must-have items like Apple's iPod Nano, which the retailer recently announced will be part of its "Home for the Holidays" campaign set to kick off Tuesday.

"You don't want to destroy the pricing structure on hot products by discounting everything deeply," Cohen said. "The rule of thumb is don't be overly promotional if you don't need to."


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