Wal-Mart, Toys'R'Us, Target deploy last-minute discounts as retailers enter last week of particularly competitive holiday season

LOS ANGELES , December 18, 2011 () – Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Toys'R'Us Inc., and Target Corp. entered the last week before Christmas offering last minute discounts and promotions during what has been a particularly competitive holiday season, The Star Tribune reported Dec. 16.

Retailers are vying to attract the most toy shoppers in order to gain coveted market share and because toys are the second most popular sales item, behind gift cards.

Wal-Mart has again come out ahead among retailers thanks to deep discounts and its layaway plan. Beginning as early as September, the No. 1 U.S. retailer started selling many toys at just US$15, the publication stated.

Target, for its part, is selling its private label Imaginarium toys at a 40% discount and consumers purchasing Nintendo 3DS handheld game systems at the retailer will receive a $35 gift card. Other promotions, such as its "25 Days of Toys" and free shipping on toy purchases of over $50 are meant to compensate for insignificant same-store sales in November.

Target, whose toy sales have been notably impacted by Wal-Mart’s layaway program, became more aggressive this month on promotions and beat Wal-Mart toy prices by 8.1%, compared with last month when toys at Target were more expensive by 4.7%, per Bloomberg data. The promotions are likely to significantly affect Target’s profit margins, said Janney Capital Markets analyst David Strasser.

For its part, Toys‘R’Us made a come back last year by offering a wider selection of toys than rival retailers, said CEO Gerald Storch.

The primary source of this article is The Star Tribune, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Dec. 16, 2011.

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