It's Almost Halloween: Time To Shop For Christmas?

Walmart launched the first salvo in the holiday retail wars, announcing a Christmas Price Guarantee: Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, if a customer buys a product and then finds it at a lower price elsewhere, Walmart will issue a gift card equal to the difference. The move continues a recent trend of retailers promoting products earlier and more aggressively to pull in frugal shoppers who are pickier in this economy.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with the battle for holiday shoppers.

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MONTAGNE: It's not even Halloween yet, and the holiday retail wars have already begun. Today, Wal-Mart is launching the first salvo with a Christmas price guarantee. Between November 1st and December 25th, if customers buy a product and then find it at a lower price elsewhere, Wal-Mart says it will issue a gift card equal to the difference.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The move continues a trend of retailers promoting their holiday products earlier and more aggressively to pull in frugal shoppers who are pickier in this economy. According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, shoppers plan to spend about $700 on gifts this holiday season. That's slightly lower than last year. And about 40 percent of consumers say they'll start their holiday shopping before Halloween.

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