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Wal-Mart makes experiment in time warps for stressed shoppers

Wal-Mart is trying an experiment in time warps for stressed shoppers.

The world's largest retailer said it is asking London's Royal National Observatory to declare that this Saturday officially be named Friday so that the big shopping day after Thanksgiving can go on for two days.

It was a tongue-in-cheek statement from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., but retailers are struggling in earnest to fuel holiday sales after a poor October blamed on higher gas prices, rising heating fuel costs, tightening credit, lower home values and recalls of dangerous toys.

Retailers have pulled out a slew of tricks already, from deep discounts to early shopping hours, ahead of the day dubbed "Black Friday" that kicks off the traditional holiday shopping season.

Wal-Mart said it will unveil Black Friday discounts online starting Thanksgiving Day and will offer additional in-store deals on items like home electronics and toys beyond what it is publishing in circulars this week.

Wal-Mart's statement did not say why it had approached the Royal National Observatory for the day change or if there was a response from Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal. The retailer did not immediately return a call for comment.

Black Friday is so named because it historically was when stores turned a profit.

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