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Friday, November 23, 2012

Despite Union Targeting, Wal-Mart Reports Record Sales For Black Friday

By Susan Duclos

[Update] Follow up piece, dealing with Hostess, Wal-Mart and unions HERE]

[Update] Via Wal-Mart statement- "less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide."

Full statement below the original post.

Original Post below:

As Ben Shapiro headlines over at BG: Union Fail!

Despite union efforts to target retailers like Walmart, businesses are reporting record Black Friday traffic – the biggest sign yet that the unions are out of touch with the American people. Starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Walmart put its products on Black Friday sale, sparking a run to the stores and earning the stores record sales.

LA Times reports:

After opening earlier than in previous Thanksgiving weekends, Wal-Mart reported its “best ever Black Friday” sales, including bigger crowds than last year, the company said Friday.

The retailer rolled out deals starting at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. From 8 p.m. to midnight, Wal-Mart processed nearly 10 million register transactions, handling 5,000 items a second, the company said. Mmore than 22 million shopped in Wal-Mart's stores during the four-hour period.

Last year, the chain opened at 10 p.m.

More than 1.3 million employees are staffing the holiday weekend, Wal-Mart U.S. chief executive Bill Simon said in a statement.

The company split its sales into three time periods, each with a different type of merchandise available. At 8 p.m., toys, games and home apparel went on sale. At 10 p.m., electronics. At 5 a.m., jewelry, tools and other items.

Since 8 p.m. Thursday, Wal-Mart had sold 1.8 million towels, 1.3 million televisions, 1.3 million dolls and 250,000 bicycles, the company said in a statement released at about 6:30 a.m. PST.
“We had very safe and successful Black Friday events at our stores across the country and heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers,” Simon said.

Wal-Mart wasn't the only company recording big payoffs for opening early for Black Friday:

At Sears, which opened for the first time at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, lines were longer than in previous years, said company spokesman Tom Aiello.

"We had lines ranging from 300 to 1,000 people," he said. "Everyone was curious about how the 8 p.m. Thanksgiving evening was going to go. For the most part, once you got into the store it was manageable and the crowds aren't too bad."

Shoppers queued up outside Toys R Us stores, which also opened at 8 p.m., said they were happy to shop after turkey and pie instead of getting up out of warm beds in the middle of the night for good bargains, said Troy Rice, senior vice president of stores and services.

Rice said more families were out and about with kids in tow, hunting for Lego play sets, Barbie dolls and kid-oriented tablet computers.

"It was really a family event that we saw going on last night," he said. "The mood in lines were very positive and celebratory."

Dustin Hamilton, a district manager at Target, said shoppers "voted with their wallets" by storming stores around the Southland at its 9 p.m. opening, which was three hours earlier than last year.

"I spoke with several customers who said it was their first time our for Black Friday, and the reason they were out was because of the earlier openings," he said.

[Update] Wal-Mart Corporate statement:

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Nov. 23, 2012 – Today, Walmart U.S. reported its best ever Black Friday events. The retailer saw larger crowds than last year and a huge response to its first ever one-hour guarantee on key electronic items.

“I’m so proud of what our more than 1.3 million associates have done to prepare and execute our Black Friday plans, giving our customers a great start to their Christmas shopping season,” said Bill Simon, Walmart U.S. president and chief executive officer. “The work of our associates is even more impressive when you consider they served approximately 22 million customers on Thursday.

Walmart’s Black Friday plan included three events this year at 8 p.m., 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. During the high traffic period from 8 p.m. through midnight, Walmart processed nearly 10 million register transactions and almost 5,000 items per second.

During the 8 p.m. event, customers filled shopping carts with gaming consoles, video games, DVDs, Furbys, fashion dolls, board games and Crock-Pots.

At 10 p.m. it was all about electronics, including big-screen TVs, tablets, laptops and digital cameras. Customers were particularly excited about Walmart’s “guaranteed” items, and the turnout for the iPad 2, Emerson 32” LCD TV and LG Blu-ray player was amazing. Customers appreciated this historic offering knowing they were guaranteed to put one of these gifts under their trees.

Since its events began at 8 p.m., Walmart sold more than:
  • 1.8 million towels,
  • 1.3 million televisions,
  • 1.3 million dolls and
  • 250,000 bicycles.
“We had very safe and successful Black Friday events at our stores across the country and heard overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers,” Simon said.

In response to the UFCW’s planned protests, Simon added, “Only 26 protests occurred at stores last night and many of them did not include any Walmart associates.” In addition, the company did not experience the walk-offs that were promised by the UFCW. “We estimate that less than 50 associates participated in the protest nationwide. In fact, this year, roughly the same number of associates missed their scheduled shift as last year,” Simon said.

Walmart associates receive a 10 percent discount on general merchandise bought at Walmart stores all year long. Earlier this holiday season, the company rewarded associates with a special holiday discount of 10 percent off most food items from November 9 to January 1 to help make the holidays for its associates and their families even more special.

Also, to recognize those associates who helped serve customers during its Black Friday events, the company is providing an additional 10 percent discount on an entire basket of goods. Eligible associates who helped execute Walmart’s Black Friday events will also receive holiday pay.
Black Friday is just the start to a full holiday season of savings at Walmart.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Please click the following link for a downloadable time lapse video showing Black Friday at Walmart:

Broadcast journalists can also download b-roll from Walmart’s Black Friday events using the following link:

Sound bites from Walmart executives including Walmart U.S. President & CEO Bill Simon are available via this link: