* Will keep majority of discount stores open 24 hrs
* Will disperse crowds throughout its stores
By Nicole Maestri
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 11 Wal-Mart Stores Inc
(WMT.N) plans to implement new crowd control efforts in its
U.S. stores this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, after stampeding
holiday shoppers trampled a worker to death last year.
Black Friday, or the day after Thanksgiving, typically
marks the official launch of the U.S. holiday season, when
retailers offer eye-popping deals and discounts to attract
But last year, Jdimytai Damour, 34, was knocked to the
ground and trampled to death when frenzied shoppers broke down
the doors and surged into a Long Island, New York Walmart
discount store at 5 a.m. on Black Friday.
This year, the retailer will open most of its Walmart
discount stores on Thanksgiving morning at 6 a.m. and keep
those stores open through Friday evening.
Last year, those stores closed Thanksgiving evening and
reopened early Friday morning, creating long lines of anxious
shoppers waiting outside its stores.
"(Shoppers) will be dispersed through a 200,000 square foot
store as opposed to all being right by the front door, waiting
to go in," said spokesman David Tovar.
Walmart supercenters, which combine a full grocery store
and discount store, already stay open 24 hours a day.
Once inside, the retailer will allow customers to line up
by displays of must-have merchandise throughout the store.
When those products go on sale Friday at 5 a.m., workers
will supervise the lines and distribute the merchandise. It is
an effort to end the scuffles that inevitably break out between
shoppers who rush through stores Black Friday morning, hoping
to grab limited supplies of cut-price flat panel televisions or
(Reporting by Nicole Maestri; Editing by Derek Caney)