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Wal-Mart has plans to promote "Black Friday" pricing weeks before Thanksgiving. Over 10,000 items will be heavily promoted in housewares, toys and the electronics departments starting this weekend.

Beginning this weekend Wal-Mart's plans to offer a Compaq laptop for $398, about $180 less than the lowest-priced laptop now listed on its Web site. This promotion is similar to one the company ran last year on Black Friday and the consumer response was excellent.

Last week Wal-Mart discounted over 100 toys and games including popular dolls such as the Amazing Amanda line which are now $30 off the retail price, Dora the Explorer: Dora's Talking Kitchen now $15 off and board games such as Monopoly, Here and Now which is almost 50 percent off.

It looks like Toys R Us is not going to be left behind. Shoppers at Toys R Us are already finding markdowns and special promotions on several popular toys. The Dora the Explorer: Dora's Talking Kitchen is marked down to $65.99 plus you can order the Jumbo Dora the Explorer or Diego for only $5.99 with the purchase.

Amazon, who analysts predicted would compete fiercely with Toys R Us after the past months of bitter court room battles, seems to be a little sluggish with its toy markdowns. Dora's Talking Kitchen is currently priced at a discounted price of $79.94, just a five cent move from the original price of $79.99.

Shoppers looking for specific toys will benefit from using price-comparison sites, such as Pricegrabber.com before shopping as it appears this busy shopping season will be highly competitive with retailers announcing lower prices at unpredictable times.

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