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November 28, 2013

Below-cost Black Friday sales now legal in Oklahoma

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

Wal-Mart is taking advantage of the change. A 32-inch LED television that sold for $148 last Black Friday is $98 this year, and the company said it expects to stock 65 percent more televisions and twice as many electronic tablets this year.
“We are very excited to provide our customers in Oklahoma the same great Black Friday deals that we do in stores around the country,” the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said in a statement.
Holt said his intent wasn’t just to help out Wal-Mart, which is the state’s largest retailer.
“I don’t care necessarily about Wal-Mart. I care about the free market. I ran on free-market principles, and I care about my consumers paying higher prices simply because the government tells them to,” he said.
Jeff Shelman, a spokesman for electronics giant Best Buy, said the repeal of pricing minimums “is a win for consumers.”
And while Oklahoma shoppers will be able to get below-cost deals on electronics and other general merchandise on Black Friday, the state’s 1941 Unfair Sales Act and its 6 percent markup still apply to more than a dozen items — including prescription drugs, fuel, groceries, baby supplies, over-the-counter medicines, lumber and other building materials.
“It had lots of twists and turns and had to be heavily compromised,” Holt said of the law. “But rather than drop the idea in the face of opposition, I wanted to compromise so we can at least be sitting here having this conversation.”

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