Christmas Shopping in the US, Also Disrupted by the Pandemic

Christmas shopping in the US, also disrupted by the pandemic


With the coronavirus still spreading in the country, stores have had to rethink their usual plans for the end of the year. Thanksgiving Day slamming is off and businesses will likely try to direct many shoppers to their websites to avoid crowds and chaos.

Add last-minute holiday shopping to the list of time-honored traditions that are being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Retailers are kicking off the season earlier than ever this year in hopes of avoiding in-store crowds and shipping bottlenecks in November and December.

Stores like Best Buy, Macy's, and Target typically offer their biggest Black Friday deals over Thanksgiving weekend, but now they're starting them in October.

And with more people expected to shop online, retailers are trying to avoid a flood of orders around Christmas, which could lead to delayed packages and more expensive shipping.

Black Friday has long been the unofficial start of the Christmas season in America.

This year there is more urgency. With the coronavirus still spreading in the country, stores have had to rethink their usual plans for the end of the year. Thanksgiving Day slamming is off and businesses will likely try to direct many shoppers to their websites to avoid crowds and chaos.

“We are gearing up for a holiday season like none we've seen before,” said Brian Cornell, Target's CEO.

With many people out of work and even more uncertain about their financial future, this is not expected to be a banner year for year-end sales. Shoppers are likely to buy fewer gifts because they won't be traveling to large family gatherings. And they will focus on gifts related to activities around the home, from sportswear to household items to game consoles.

"Shoppers will be very selective in what they buy," predicted Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, a retail research firm. “Retailers, particularly department stores and specialty clothing chains, have to do well in terms of inventory and customer traffic. They are fighting for their lives ”.

The first will be Amazon and its Prime Day in mid-October, which is normally in July, but was postponed this year.

That will put pressure on the other stores, like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

Even with the early start of the season, holiday sales are expected to generate lower profits than in recent years. But nobody really knows what will happen.


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