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It's Almost Halloween: Time To Shop For Christmas?

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR business news starts with the battle for holiday shoppers.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: It's not even Halloween yet, and the holiday retail wars have already begun. Today, Wal-Mart is launching the first salvo with a Christmas price guarantee. Between November 1st and December 25th, if customers buy a product and then find it at a lower price elsewhere, Wal-Mart says it will issue a gift card equal to the difference.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The move continues a trend of retailers promoting their holiday products earlier and more aggressively to pull in frugal shoppers who are pickier in this economy. According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, shoppers plan to spend about $700 on gifts this holiday season. That's slightly lower than last year. And about 40 percent of consumers say they'll start their holiday shopping before Halloween. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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