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Walmart, Target plan big June sales

by Serenah McKay | June 4, 2021 at 1:57 a.m.

Walmart Inc. will counter Amazon.com's Prime Days this month with its own Deals for Days sales event, which will be held June 20 through June 23.

The Bentonville-based retailer made the announcement Wednesday, the day after Amazon revealed that its annual Prime Days are set for June 21 and June 22.

And Target Corp. said Wednesday that it will hold a three-day sale called Target Deal Days, starting June 20. Christina Hennington, Target's chief growth officer, said in a news release that this year's event will last a day longer than usual and include food and beverages for the first time.

Walmart and Target typically time their big sales to coincide with Amazon's Prime Days.

But Prime Days discount prices are available only to Prime members, who pay $119 a year for benefits such as free two-day shipping and access to streaming music and video content.

While Target Deal Days is an online-only event, Hennington said shoppers won't need a membership or subscription to take advantage of the discounts.

Walmart's Deals for Days is also available to all customers, with no subscription or membership required.

A Walmart spokeswoman said some bargains will be offered online only, while others will be available only in stores. In addition, customers will find rollbacks on items sold both online and in stores.

The spokeswoman said shoppers will find "Black Friday-like" savings from Walmart and its Marketplace sellers on popular items in categories such as electronics, home, toys, beauty and fashion.

Retailers' positive first-quarter earnings surprised analysts and showed that people are ready to shop, said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics Inc.

Amazon traditionally scheduled Prime Days in July. But pandemic-related disruptions in Amazon's supply chain caused it to postpone last year's event until October, and other retailers followed suit.

This year's June dates fall near the end of most retailers' second quarter and in the middle of Walmart's. While Walmart doesn't report net sales from specific events such as this, the results will likely be seen in its second-quarter earnings report in August.

Starting sales early this year lets retailers take advantage of a potential spike in retail spending during what is generally a slow summer month, said Carol Spieckerman, a retail consultant and president of Spieckerman Retail. "From there, the second half of the year will be gravy," she said.

Spieckerman expects the sales to encourage additional spending, "especially as mask mandates drop and pent-up demand for store shopping [is] unleashed."

"Retailers must step up as consumers look for excuses to indulge themselves along with friends and family," Spieckerman said. This will largely be seen in discretionary categories like apparel, jewelry and home goods, she said.

Spieckerman sees little downside to retailers' riding in Prime Days' wake again this year.

Besides, she said, "doing nothing could be perilous as Amazon will be tracking the competition and crafting deals accordingly. This year in particular, retailers won't want to be left out of the party."

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