Wal-Mart

Let the holiday wars begin.

Wal-Mart Stores on Thursday said it will deploy “an army of holiday helpers” starting Nov. 4 to keep things moving at the registers during the busy Christmas season. The dedicated seasonal workers will help customers find the shortest lines and open cash registers if needed. They will also quickly find items customers may have forgotten. While Wal-Mart didn’t divulge the number of holiday helpers it deploy, the retailer said their ranks will be increased during peak times.

Wal-Mart said it has launched thousands of rollbacks, but the only example it gave is a new Roku 32-inch HDTV, priced $125 in November and December, the same price as last year’s Black Friday offer.

“We’ll win the season on price from the first weekend in November to Black Friday and Cyber Monday and through those final weeks in December,” said Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer of Wal-Mart U.S.

Wal-Mart last year revealed plans to invest several billion dollars in price over the next three years. Wal-Mart Stores chief executive officer Doug McMillon in October told a gathering of Wall Street analysts, “It’s not just about items and prices. Today, more than ever, it’s about time.”

A protest outside Trump Tower on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue is planned today by Wal-Mart-Free NYC and other groups who are outraged that Wal-Mart continues to sell online products that promote Donald Trump’s presidential campaign amid allegations of sexual assault against the candidate. Items include caps and T-shirts with the slogan Make America Great Again, aftershave and Chia Pets.

With five times as many shoppers choosing to pick up purchases in stores during the holidays, Wal-Mart locations will have dedicated pickup staff and pickup managers for the first time. The retailer increased the number of products that can be ordered online and picked up in store, saying that it has added tens of thousands of items in categories such as apparel, seasonal decor, toys and electronics.

Wal-Mart since last year has increased the number of Marketplace sellers by more than 30 times, which has helped the retailer triple its online assortment to more than 20 million items.

Target, meanwhile, revealed that it’s offering free shipping on online orders through Jan. 1. The retailer is launching Wondershop with items for tree-trimming and assortment of 2,000 new seasonal items. Target’s holiday highlights include about 1,000 new pieces from Cat & Jack kids brand, priced under $30 each; more than 1,800 new or exclusive toys, about 15 percent more than last year; newly released virtual reality products such as PlayStation VR and VR One Plus, and connected home products including Google Home, and a Garth Brooks 10-disc box set.

Starting in mid-November Target will offer $10 savings on a purchase of $50 from a different product category every week, including home, apparel and toys. The offer in December will be $25 savings on $100 or more.

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