Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Wednesday it will begin offering this week the type of holiday discounts it typically reserves for Black Friday -- the day after Thanksgiving that typically marks the start of the ultra-competitive holiday shopping season.

The world's largest retailer said that on Thursday it will list special deals on its Web site, like an Acer Aspire laptop with a 14-inch LCD screen for $348.

Customers will then be able to buy the products in its stores starting on Friday.

Wal-Mart has said it intends to be aggressive this holiday season to boost sales at its U.S. stores.

It is trying to reassert itself as a low-price retailer and appeal to shoppers who are being squeezed by high energy and food costs, the unstable real estate market and a credit crunch. Last year the company downplayed its discount roots in an effort to attract more business from higher-income shoppers.

Wal-Mart began reducing prices on popular toys in September, and earlier this month said it cut prices on 15,000 items, 20 percent more than at the same point a year before.

At its analyst meeting last week, Wal-Mart said it was doing very, very well selling Halloween merchandise and candy, and was confident in its Christmas plans.

When it comes to Christmas, you're going to see (a very different look) from Wal-Mart because you're going to see an increased effort behind presentation, Eduardo Castro-Wright, head of its U.S. operations, said at the meeting.

The retailer is opening Christmas shops in its stores that will sell holiday decor and gifts, and offer product demonstrations.

(Reporting by Nicole Maestri)