Walmart and Target Shift Focus to Cyber Monday Deals Amid Online Sales Boom

November 24, 2017, 3:05 PM UTC

With all signs pointing to the healthiest Black Friday in years, many top retailers have already begun touting their Cyber Monday deals in the hopes of sustaining that momentum during the busiest shopping weekend of the year.

Even as many analysts are reporting higher Black Friday shopper traffic this year, American consumers were spending robustly online too, spurred by many retailers getting their Black Friday deals going in afternoon or early evening of Thanksgiving.

Chains like Walmart (WMT), Target (TGT), and Best Buy (BBY) had already made Black Friday deals available to online shoppers hours before their stores opened.

Adobe Analytics, which tracks online transactions, said that by 5 p.m. Eastern time, just when many big Black Friday players like Kohl’s (KSS) and Macy’s (M) were opening doors, online spending hit $1.52 billion, up 16.8% over the year-earlier period.

That is inline with the growth it measured in the first 21 days of November, when online sales hit $30.39 billion, or up 17.9% compared to 2016.

So it was not surprising that Target and Walmart, locked in an intense price war with each other and with (AMZN), quickly announced online deals for Cyber Monday even as shoppers continued to gorge on deals at stores Friday morning.

Target, which is eager to show its strong third-quarter was not a one-off, said in a blog that on Thursday, the most popular items included Dyson and iRobot vacuums, Beats headphones, and the Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cooker. The chain is taking 15% off everything on its site Monday, along with deals for the rest of the week.

As for Walmart, the chain, whose online sales have exploded this year thanks to its acquisition of and a major overhaul of its marketplaces, will start deals at the stroke of midnight late Sunday. In many cases, it is simply repeating online deals from Black Friday. Walmart U.S. chief merchant Steve Bratspies said that customers had been flocking to items like smart TVs, a category the company is emphasizing again in its Cyber Monday deals.

But for now, retailers are still hoping Black Friday continues to be a good start to the season. While there is no objective, definitive gauge of how in-store traffic and sales have fared so far, analysts and industry groups alike say it is shaping up to be the best Black Friday in a while.

“The numbers are really positive … and it’s been a few years since we had a really solid holiday season,” Matthew Shay, CEO of the National Retail Federation, said on CNBC on Friday morning. The NRF has forecast retail sales would rise 3.6% to 4% in November and December.

And Wall Street seemed buoyed by this first—albeit limited—read of how the sector is faring: Macy’s shares were up 3.5% in premarket trading, while Target and Walmart were each up almost 1%. Kohl’s, J.C. Penney (JCP), and Best Buy were also among the retailers to see shares rise on Friday morning.

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