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Wal-Mart Kicking Off Holiday Early

New York City Wal-Mart Stores announced Wednesday that it has cut prices on popular toys and is ramping up the opening of its in-store Christmas shops. The move is key to the discounter’s strategy to win sales from cash-strapped shoppers in what is expected to be a grim holiday for many retailers.

Wal-Mart said it will sell 10 toys, including certain Barbie dolls and Tonka trucks, for $10 each. It is also putting its Christmas shops on the "fast track" and intends to open the shops, which sell ornaments and holiday decor, nationwide by Oct. 10.

Last year, Wal-Mart cut prices on hot toys on Sept. 30 to try to persuade hesitant shoppers to spend on holiday items.

Wal-Mart is not alone in trying to get shoppers into the holiday mood. Macy's Inc has set up its Holiday Lane Christmas shops in its stores, while discount retailer Target Corp is also selling holiday ornaments and decor.

In announcing its holiday plans, Wal-Mart also released the results of its 2008 Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey, in which 61% of the respondents said they do not plan on reducing their holiday spending this year. However, to help deal with the uncertain economy, 39% said they plan to purchase less expensive items.