WISE COLUMN: Christmas jingle arrives early at Walmart

Shoppers leave a Wal-Mart in Danvers, Mass. A week before Halloween and two full months before Christmas, stores are desperately trying to outdo each other in hopes of drawing in customers worn down by the economy. Wal-Mart, the biggest store in the nation, joined the price wars by announcing that it would give gift cards to shoppers if they buy something there and find it somewhere else cheaper.

Lisa Poole

Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world, is jumping ahead of the competition for the holiday-shopping season.

The chain will offer early savings on electronics and toys at stores nationwide with a "Super Saturday" event starting at 11 a.m. on Nov. 5 and running until midnight while supplies last. Items include 42-inch TVs, Xbox 360s and kitchen countertop appliances, as well bicycles and other select toys. Toyland will be set up with cupcakes, balloons, activities and giveaways for children.

Also, for the first time, Wal-Mart is offering a preview of its most highly sought-after Black Friday specials. Customers can sign up at Walmart.com or Facebook.com/Walmart. The retailer will reveal the specials soon.

Wal-Mart is also offering a price guarantee on eligible products until Dec. 25. If a customer finds the same product advertised for less at another store, Wal-Mart will give the customer a gift card for the difference. The guarantee is valid on purchases of identical items available at competitor's stores located within the same local market.

Sweet treat

Sugarbelles, a cupcake store and sweet shop, is now open at 121 S. Main St. in Summerville.

Suds and slices

The Mellow Mushroom at 3110 U.S. Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant will hold its second annual Mount Pleasant Beerfest from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Saturday. Proceeds go to the Windwood Farm Home for Boys in Awendaw.

Charity sale

Belk's semi-annual Charity Sale is set for Saturday. The 6-10 a.m. event benefits non-profit charities and schools by allowing them to keep 100 percent of each $5 ticket sold. The tickets allow shoppers to save 20-70 percent off purchases that day on seldom-discounted items. Go to www.belk.com/charitysale for details.

Bright idea

Quoizel will hand out free energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs to the first 100 customers each day Friday though Sunday during the lamp-maker's annual factory warehouse sale at 6 Corporate Parkway in Crowfield Corporate Center in Goose Creek.

Do you know of a business that is opening, closing or expanding? Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524, wwise@postandcourier.com or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.