Walmart spokesman John Forrest Ales holds a Disney "Frozen" Snow Glow Elsa Doll, one of the products on sale Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Walmart spokesman John Forrest Ales holds a Disney “Frozen” Snow Glow Elsa Doll, one of the products on sale Thanksgiving Day. Photo by Chris Jennewein

With Walmart expecting millions of shoppers nationwide on Thanksgiving evening, its San Diego stores are preparing for the crowds with new procedures and services.

Last year Walmart served 22 million customers at its “New Black Friday” event, which begins at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

Company officials would not release sales estimates, but spokesman John Forrest Ales said, “We’re hoping for a great turnout.”

Ales met with San Diego media on Monday to explain efforts to ease shoppers through stories, including issuing price-guarantee wristbands, handing out store maps, creating special areas to line up, hiring more sales associates and opening all sales registers.

“Opening all the registers is a key part,” he said, adding that a safety and security plan will also be in place at each location.

The Thanksgiving sale begins at 6 p.m., when shoppers can pick up a “1-hour guarantee” that assures them of the sale price, even if the item sells out. Then at 8 p.m. there is a electronics sale, followed at 6 a.m. Friday by a traditional Black Friday event.

The company also expects a surge of online shopping, and Ales said the company is aggressively investing in electronic retailing to meet customer demand.

“We’re uniquely positioned to take care of the customer at both levels,” Ales said.”That’s where the sweet spot is for the customer, particularly for the holidays.”

Walmart, the word’s largest retailer, has 298 retail locations in California.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.