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The New Black Friday: Retailers Kicking Off Holiday Sales

Some of the nation’s largest retailers will begin rolling out Black Friday sales this weekend — earlier than ever and the latest sign of how the pandemic is reshaping the biggest shopping season of the year.

Walmart, Target and other major brands were spurred to push up their holiday timetables by Amazon’s decision to move Prime Day, which is usually in July, to October. It’s a signature event for the e-commerce giant, generating an estimated $7.16 billion in sales last year, according to research firm Digital Commerce 360.

Most large retailers are going dark on Thanksgiving Day, reversing a years-long tradition of kicking off the holiday shopping season with a rush of “doorbuster” deals. It’s part of a larger reimagining of the retail experience because of the pandemic, one designed to accommodate social distancing and new safety protocols, and minimize long lines, crowded malls and repeat shopping trips.

- Digital Partner -

“The stampede mentality of the past, with doorbusters sales and Black Friday deals every weekend, is being replaced by earlier, season-long discounts,” said James Zahn, senior editor of the Toy Insider, a trade magazine. “We’re in a health crisis, so retailers are having to rethink how they get products into families’ hands.”

The stakes are especially high: More than a dozen major retailers have filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic and several others are at risk of running out of cash. The recession has erased millions of jobs, so Americans will be spending less this year — both because of their own financial situations and because there will be fewer opportunities to exchanges gifts with family, friends and co-workers. The earlier retailers can lock in sales, the better, says Tyson Cornell, who leads the US consumer markets group at PwC…  The Washington Post

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