Advertiser Disclosure

Is Wal-Mart’s Ad Match Guarantee the Best Deal this Black Friday?

November 20, 2013
Black Friday, Shopping
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Already known for low prices, Wal-Mart has made an unprecedented price-matching move that’s certain to draw massive crowds this Black Friday. In fact, it’ll draw crowds a week early as well. That’s because on Friday, November 22, the retail giant will kick off a pre-Black Friday savings event in stores and online.

Pre-Black Friday: the Same Deals You’d Find Elsewhere – but Earlier

Beginning at 8 a.m. on November 22nd, the world’s largest retailer will match select Black Friday offers from Best Buy, Target and Toys R’ Us. Notable bargains include:

  • 50-inch LG HDTV for $448 (was $598)
  • PS4 and Xbox One video games such as Battlefield 4, Call of Duty: Ghosts and NBA 2K14 for $49 (previously $59.96)
  • Monopoly board game for $5 (was $7.77)

Several other electronics and toys are on sale, as well. Note that the deals are only good while supplies last.

Ad-Matching on Thanksgiving & Black Friday

Beginning at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving as well as 8 a.m. on Black Friday, Wal-Mart will host Black Friday events. To sweeten the deal, you can also bring hard copies competitors’ ads to guarantee you get the lowest available prices.

Here’s how it works. If a local competitor advertises a given item for a lower price than Wal-Mart’s, the company will match it. Simple enough, right? Well, you also have to bring the printed advertisement into Wal-Mart at the same time and on the same day as the competitor’s sale. Furthermore, the sale must only apply in-store, not online.

Which Ads will Wal-Mart Match?

Ads that Wal-Mart will match include:

  • Buy one, get one free with a specified price
  • Specific items at a specified prices
  • Preferred shopping card prices for specific items in a printed ad
  • Fresh produce and meat ads when the price is offered in the same unit type (ex: competitor offers steak for $5.99/lb and Wal-Mart offers it for $6.99/lb.)

Exceptions

Wal-Mart will not match prices in any of the following situations:

  • Ads where actual prices cannot be determined
  • Internet prices
  • Misprinted ads
  • Closeout or going-out-of-business sales
  • Private label promotions
  • Percentages (ex: 50% off a certain toy)
  • Free gift cards (ex: buy this shirt and get a $5 gift card)
  • One-hour guarantee items

With this considerable list of exceptions, it may be best to verify your chosen item qualifies before making the purchase.

What about the Competition?

None of Wal-Mart’s major competitors offers an ad match guarantee on Thanksgiving or Black Friday. In fact, Best Buy won’t match prices from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. Toys R’ Us’ policy is even more restrictive in that it doesn’t match ads for the week of Black Friday or on Cyber Monday.

Target doesn’t match ads on Black Friday either, but its policy makes no mention of deals on surrounding days. That said, verify a given ad will be matched before making a purchase.

Given Wal-Mart’s ad matching of specific Black Friday deals a week early, though, competitors might be forced to respond in kind to salvage a successful holiday season. That hasn’t happened yet, though.

Final Word

Wal-Mart has pulled far ahead of the pack with its pre-Black Friday savings event and ad-match guarantee. If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving or just don’t want to head out that night or on Black Friday, the ability to tap into the best Black Friday deals around a week early is tough to beat.

If you’re heading out on Black Friday, remember that Wal-Mart is currently the only major retailer matching ads on that day. As such, unless something changes quickly, Big Blue is the place to be as the shopping madness begins.