Duncan Mac Naughton

Wal-Mart is making Black Friday a weeklong event, shifting away from the chaotic one-day sales that once epitomized the day after Thanksgiving. The "New Black Friday" will include five days of sales on Walmart.com and in stores, starting at 12:01 a.m. online on Thanksgiving and running through Cyber Monday, the Bentonville, Ark.-based company said in a statement today. "Black Friday has become Black Friday week," Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart's chief merchandising officer, told reporters yesterday. "Our customers want to shop when they want to shop so we're trying to expand the times and product availability with them."

A day after announcing a disappointing second quarter, Wal-Mart has made an aggressive holiday promise to its customers: the world's largest retailer says it will staff every cash register from the day after Thanksgiving through the days just before Christmas during peak shopping times. Wal-Mart's "checkout promise" is aimed at addressing lengthy waits in checkout lines. "We feel good about price and having the top gifts of the season, so the next priority is about getting customers in and out of the stores quickly," Duncan Mac Naughton, Wal-Mart's chief merchandising officer, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Wal-Mart named 13 executives to its U.S. merchandising operations, marking the latest shake-up since CEO Doug McMillon took the reins in February. As part of the changes, Scott Huff will be promoted to executive vice president overseeing merchandising operations for the U.S., according to a company memo sent by U.S. Chief Merchandising Officer Duncan Mac Naughton. Huff has been at Wal-Mart since 1994, when he started as an intern. The Bentonville, Arkansas-based company also named new executives to oversee everything from consumables and sales innovation to baby products and adult beverages.

In front of 6,000 Wal-Mart associates at the company's annual holiday meeting Wednesday, Chief Merchandising and Marketing Officer Duncan Mac Naughton introduced free layaway with no opening fee. Beginning Sept. 13 through Dec. 13, layaway will kick off the retailer's official start to the holiday season. "Times are tough and it's not easy for many Americans — they're watching every penny," said Mac Naughton. "All year long, but especially during the holidays, our customers need a low price leader. This year, we're committed to doing everything we did last year to help Americans save money — plus more." 

Tags: Online Retailing Nearly 80 percent of moms with children in kindergarten to 12th grade consider back-to-school a time for a fresh start, according to a study conducted by Global Customer Insights and Analytics on behalf of Walmart. In fact, nine out of 10 moms make back-to-school "resolutions" in preparation for the year ahead, with 78 percent planning to get organized each school year. The results of the WalMart Class of 2012 Back-to-School Survey spurred the retail giant to launch "Classrooms by Walmart," a new online tool to help moms find their students' classroom supply lists and buy them

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