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Competitors’ actions challenge Target


Holiday shopping is set to explode this week, and recent actions by Target suggest the retailer is missing out on several opportunities to grow sales, or at least ensure a level playing field.

For starters, the company’s 1,684 stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, which is a lost opportunity of major proportions considering that discount store rivals Walmart and Kmart will be open. Target should be commended for giving its employees the day off, but in doing so it has puts itself at a disadvantage during an intensely competitive holiday season. Many people are looking for something to do on Thanksgiving besides eat, and heading to a nearby store to get a jump on Christmas shopping serves as a desirable alternative to watching football, taking a nap or spending time with relatives.

If they want to go to Target they will have to wait until 6 a.m. Friday when the doors open for the company’s 2-day sale. The Black Friday sales event was promoted online and in its most recent circular which touted, “our lowest prices ever!” The same claim presumably will be made later this week when Black Friday special offers are revealed.

While Target chose to tease its upcoming promotions with a sort of save-the-date reminder, Walmart cut to chase and on Monday revealed its Black Friday deals. The company posted its entire 28-page circular online and in doing so gave potential customers the opportunity to plan their shopping strategy and the media fodder for news reports about holiday shopping. The strategy effectively stole thunder from other retailers’ marketing messages, which typically aren’t revealed until Thanksgiving Day. Further challenging Target is Walmart’s pledge to match the price of any local competitors printed ad for an identical product.

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