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    Walmart sets holiday sales plan

    Walmart said it will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent for the holiday weekend.
    Associated Press/File
    Walmart said it will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent for the holiday weekend.

    Walmart Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it will start offering its holiday deals at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving at its stores — two hours earlier than last year.

    The world’s largest retailer will stagger holiday deals throughout the night and into ‘‘Black Friday,’’ the day after Thanksgiving that’s traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year.

    The company also said that it will increase its stock of TVs by 65 percent and double the number of tablet computers for sale that weekend. It’s also bulking up the list of guaranteed popular items that it will sell in designated sections of its store to 21, from three last year.

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    Walmart is responding to what is expected to be a fiercely competitive holiday shopping season. Black Friday has traditionally been the official kickoff to the period, but in the last few years, that start has crept into Thanksgiving. This year, stores including Macy’s Inc., J.C. Penney Co., and Kohl’s Corp. are opening for the first time on Thanksgiving evening.

    During a media call Monday, Duncan MacNaughton, executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at Walmart’s US namesake division, said the discounter carefully studied the competitive landscape when it decided to start the deals earlier at 6 p.m. Thanksgiving.