By Nandita Bose
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is planning to boost sales and fend off rivals this holiday season by doubling down on incentives for shoppers who buy online and those who visit its stores.
The world's largest retailer said it tripled its online selections for the holiday season to 60 million items, and that it would provide free two-day shipping on more than two million products when the order size exceeds $35. It said it would also offer discounts for online orders picked up at its stores.
The company said its stores and website would offer more exclusive products from companies such as appliance maker Cuisinart and audio equipment maker Bose.
The plans were announced at a media briefing to outline Wal-Mart's strategy for the November and December holiday shopping season, an important period for retailers during which they earn an outsized portion of their annual profits and sales.
Steve Bratspies, chief merchandising officer at Wal-Mart said the retailer would offer "thousands of rollbacks" or reduced prices across products that would include lower prices on 400 toys from brands like Lego and Nerf.
"We are buying as much inventory as we think we can handle and sell ... we think we are in a really strong position," Bratspies said.
Bratspies said that for the third consecutive year the retailer would focus more on discounts and offering the lowest prices on items instead of gimmicky product deals, as customers expect more consistent pricing.
Wal-Mart will hold more than 20,000 holiday events at its stores where shoppers can test and try top-selling items, chief marketing officer Tony Rogers said, adding that the company was investing heavily in improving the shopping experience at its stores.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Chicago)