Thanksgiving 2020 will be a little bit different from last year’s celebration. This year, some of the U.S.’s biggest retail stores will be closed on Thanksgiving day in order to avoid major crowds, health concerns, and any problems that might come with that in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Best Buy is the latest company to decide that it will not be open for business on Thanksgiving. This comes after it had started to open around 5 pm on the holiday in the past few years. The company also maintained that they would be amplifying their pick up options, work on improving their delivery orders, and really push the company’s website and mobile application. Some of the large deals that are typically found around this time of year may actually happen earlier so that there is no rush all at once. This will give customers more time to purchase certain items during COVID-19. Though the company did not specifically mention the pandemic in this recent announcement, it is fairly clear that is the major reason for the change in policy.
This announcement comes after Walmart said last week it would do the same thing and close on Thanksgiving Day. This will also apply to another brand owned by Walmart, the warehouse retail store Sam’s Club. Walmart emphasized that its customers and employees should “enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones”. Stores will have normal hours the day prior to Thanksgiving, and like Best Buy the plan for Black Friday has yet to be announced. Walmart does plan to do many of the same things that Best Buy are planning, like running specials for longer and emphasizing pick up and delivery services.
In addition to the day off with the family, employees will also get a bonus between $150 and $300 in the month of August. This makes it the third round of bonuses handed out by the company after the beginning of the coronavirus. The company recently made it mandatory for customers to wear a face covering while they are in the store shopping for goods. Each store now has a few employees who stand outside the store and keep customers aware of this new rule.
Target then followed this past Monday to extend the trend, and now Best Buy has really made it one. The company will start offering some of its holiday specials as early as October, according to company officials. Like the other two huge retail stores, Target will put a priority on pick up and delivery. This also includes fresh and frozen groceries.
The economic impact of being closed on what is normally a fairly busy day and having to possibly cut back on Black Friday crowds should be felt at least in some ways. The hope is that sales will not be greatly curtailed with enough advance warning coupled with the fact that people have become more familiar with purchasing items online. This is something that people have already been trending towards in recent years anyway. Last year, Black Friday sales hit $7.4 billion, making it the second highest day losing only to Cyber Monday’s $9.4 billion figure. Walmart actually stated that their e-commerce sales were up 74% in May due to things like grocery sales because of the pandemic.
Of course, sales might take a hit because of the staggering number of people who are now unemployed, furloughed, or underemployed because of the pandemic. There will likely be an emphasis on budget products this holiday season for those families that have been the most impacted.
Finally, it remains to be seen what tech giant Amazon will do to possibly counter these companies strategy to focus on online retail and have longer online sales. In March, Amazon made up nearly 40 percent of U.S. online sales. The company’s last Prime Day was postponed from July because of the pandemic, and it is rumored that it will be pushed to September or sometime around the holiday season.
So if you are still excited to go out and buy everyone gifts this holiday season, you might have to at least have a slightly different strategy this year. Keep an eye out for good deals and also wait to see what other companies may be taking the same strategy as these initial three.