Bloomberg News

Wal-Mart Widens Toy Prices Gap Ahead of Black Friday

November 20, 2011

(Updates shares in fifth paragraph.)

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. widened its pricing gap for toys over Target Corp. and Amazon.com Inc. as Black Friday approaches, according to analysis by Bloomberg Industries.

Online prices for a group of more than 100 toys, including such items as Hasbro Inc.’s Let’s Rock! Elmo, were 4.7 percent higher at Target and 4.6 percent more expensive at Amazon, according to a survey taken Nov. 16. Wal-Mart was also cheaper than Toys “R” Us Inc. and Sears Holdings Corp.’s Kmart.

Target’s prices were 0.5 percent cheaper than Wal-Mart’s two weeks ago and on Nov. 9 Amazon trailed the world’s largest retailer by less than 1 percent.

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the busiest shopping day of the year, and has often been considered the unofficial start to the holiday-shopping season. U.S. retail sales growth may slow to 2.8 percent this holiday season after a 5.2 percent jump last year, the Washington-based National Retail Federation said.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, was up 0.3 percent to $56.92 at 10:07 a.m. in New York. Minneapolis-based Target slipped 0.6 percent to $52.35, while Seattle-based Amazon dropped 0.4 percent to $203.80 and Hoffman Estates, Illinois- based Sears fell 1.4 percent to $64.27.

Amazon outpaced competitors by having all 116 toys in the survey in stock. Target was missing the most items with 24 percent unavailable, followed by Wal-Mart and Kmart at 19 percent and Toys “R” Us with 17 percent.

The study used a list of randomly chosen top holiday toys and compared prices that the retailers carried at their online stores.

--Editors: Niamh Ring, Stephen West

To contact the reporter on this story: Matt Townsend in New York at mtownsend9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net


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