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On Black Friday sales 2009, can Amazon compete with Wal-Mart?

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(Read caption) For Black Friday deals 2009, can Amazon.com, the Web's leading retailer, compete with Wal-Mart, the brick-and-mortar titan?

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Until Wednesday, Wal-Mart was siccing its legal team on websites of all types to keep its Black Friday 2009 deals from lighting up cyberspace. At the same time, Radio Shack was e-mailing scanned copies of its "Shack Friday" circular to the news media.

The lesson? Wal-Mart runs the Black Friday show. All others need to hustle to keep up.

But can they?

Many Black Friday watchers are skeptical. Because Wal-Mart maintains lower prices with similar profit margins, the initiative belongs to the Bentonville, Ark.,-based corporation.

"It all depends on how deeply Wal-Mart wants to cut prices. It’s kinda throwing the ball up in the air in terms of Wal-Mart and seeing how it trickles down to the other retailers," says Steven Rogé, portfolio manager at R.W. Rogé & Co., a financial-management firm in Bohemia, N.Y.

There is one retailer that might (at least eventually) take a bite out of Wal-Mart: Amazon.com.

"Black Friday has traditionally been an in-store shopping holiday, but it has also creeped online in a big way as well and merchants have incredible deals online for those people who don’t want to fight the crowds in the stores. This has made a way for Amazon to get into the game," says Luke Knowles, co-founder of Internet coupon distributor Coupon Sherpa.

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