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Best Buy Slyly Targets Last Minute Gift Givers, First Minutes Gift Getters

Best Buy (BBBY) deserves some credit for pounding away at the promotions and driving shoppers into its stores up to the Christmas holiday and even beyond.

It's latest promotion, which again focuses on computers in a battle Walmart started but Best Buy won't abandon, is a pitch that anticipates the post-Christmas gift card season and the impulse to spend driving those consumers "with gift cards in hand and a lingering appetite for even more functionality."

From Dec. 27 through Jan. 2, the retailer will offer Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) TouchSmart all-in-one computers at $799 for a four-gigabyte memory, 500-gig hard drive model and at $899 for a four-gig memory, 640-gig hard drive model with a built-in TV tuner, each $100 off.

In announcing the promotions, Best Buy confessed a desire to coax not only computer-inclined shoppers holding gift cards but also those with cash in hand from gift exchanges, whether they might be shopping for others or themselves.

What's particularly smart about the retailer's promotion is that it takes a shot at consumers flush with gift wealth but not yet attuned to the deeper bargains that will break during clearance season, which peaks in January. After all, from Best Buy's perspective, $100 off a $999 computer now is better than 40 percent or 50 percent off after New Year's Day.

To capture as much computer business as possible from the anxious-to-spend shoppers, Best Buy is offering an array of bargains that launches on Christmas day and continues in store until Dec. 26. Deals include a Lenovo 10.1-inch netbook featuring an Intel Atom N270 processor, one-gig memory and a 160-gig hard drive for $197, a product that is regularly priced at $299.99, Best Buy states. Also, the retailer will offer a Dell Studio 17-inch notebook featuring an Intel (INTC) Core 2 Duo T6600 processor, four-gig memory and a 500-gig hard drive for $699.99, regular price $779.99, and an Asus G60 16-inch gaming notebook featuring a four-gig memory, 320-gig hard drive and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 260M graphics card with one gig of dedicated graphics memory for $899.99, regular price $999.99. And, of course, all those deals come in at $100 off or less.

Best Buy has been very busy during the days leading up to Christmas. Citing an in-house study that that determined 73 percent of consumers hadn't completed their holiday shopping by Dec. 17, Best Buy, on Dec. 18, announced it would offer last-minute gift ideas, advice and options at a microsite, It also produced a humorous â€" depending on your tastes -- video where a hapless late season shopper tries to purchase flat screen televisions at barbershops and bodegas, one that plays at

In the meantime, Best Buy Mobile, launched a smartphone promotion featuring Google's Android operating platform, the HTC DROID ERIS, slated to run from Dec. 18 through 26. Also on Dec. 18, the company announced it would enhance its Reward Zone customer loyalty program in the U.S. by increasing speed of reward certificate delivery and enriching communication with members. To accomplish the enrichment part, Best Buy encouraged program members to log on to their account at and provide a valid e-mail address to ensure continued access to the program.

Usually, it's Walmart (WMT) that works out every angle on its promotions, but Best Buy seems to have become pretty adept itself.

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