A 32-inch LED television for $75. Harry Potter books for up to half off their list price. An Apple iPad mini for $265.
Black Friday deals a few months ahead of time? No. Try the modern-day version of Christmas in July sales events as Amazon on Wednesday tries to boost subscribers to its Prime service and Wal-Mart stores look to push more into e-tailing.
But much as Black Friday deals are leaked ahead of time, Amazon and Wal-Mart each released previews Tuesday of the discounts they'll offer customers.
Amazon, which touts its Prime Day event as “more deals than Black Friday,” said that it would offer “thousands” of bargains on items like gadgets, tools, toys and pet supplies, and that offerings might be refreshed as often as every 10 minutes. To qualify for the deals, shoppers must be members of its Prime service that costs $99 a year, or can sign up for a free 30-day trial.
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Wal-Mart has been critical of Amazon Prime. “We heard some people are having a big sale on their site this week, but there is one catch: You have to pay $100 to get the lowest prices,” Wal-Mart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said. “To us, the idea of asking customers to pay extra to save money just doesn’t add up.”
To entice customers to its site, which it also said will feature “thousands” of great deals, Wal-Mart has cut its free shipping minimum order to $35 from $50 until further notice, he said.
In May, Wal-Mart reported a 7 percent decline in its first-quarter earnings and said it would test an unlimited free shipping membership program for $49.
Amazon, which beat analyst estimates with its first-quarter earnings report in April, saw its shares close at $465.57 on Tuesday, a 52-week high.