Walmart’s Scott Markley holds a smartphone-controlled R2D2 robot in front of a display of Black Friday deals. Photo by Chris Jennewein

Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, and other national chains are gearing up for Black Friday, America’s annual post-Thanksgiving shopping binge.

At the Walmart in Kearny Mesa on Tuesday, officials showed off Black Friday deals on drones, televisions, bicycles, smartphones and children’s toys.

The company said it has 1.5 million televisions and 2 million digital tablets in stock at stores across the nation and online.

“We’re never going go be that retailer that advertises a great deal and only has a couple of those items in stock,” said Scott Markley, a senior manager of national media relations.

Black Friday begins at 9 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday on Walmart’s online store, and at 6 p.m. Thursday in San Diego stores.

The shopping starts a little earlier, at 5 p.m. Thursday, at Best Buy stores, and that retailer also has early online deals.

Competitor Target told stock market analysts earlier this month that it expects strong sales growth in the holiday quarter this year.

“As we move into the biggest quarter of the year, we are pleased with our inventory position and confident that our team will deliver a great guest experience as they bring our merchandising and marketing plans to life throughout the holiday season.” said Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO.

The personal-finance website WalletHub predicts total holiday spending will reach $656 billion this year, up from nearly $631 billion in 2015. WalletHub said the best Black Friday deals nationwide are likely to be in the toys category.

If binge shopping isn’t for you, Giving Tuesday has grown since its founding in 2012 to be the date when many donate to or volunteer with nonprofit organizations.

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Chris Jennewein

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