Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Major retail chains will be closed this Thanksgiving in order to ward off restless shoppers.
By Marcos Franco, Staff Writer
As large crowds remain a risk to public health nationwide, the post-Thanksgiving tradition of late-night, door-busting deals will look different this year.
What is regarded as one of the busiest shopping days of the year for both consumers and retail chains will lack the familiar Black Friday lines of campers scrambling to be the first ones through the door. Major retail stores — including Walmart, Target and Best Buy — will be closed for Thanksgiving in order to minimize congregation between eager shoppers. Since holiday discounts and crowding typically go hand in hand, businesses decided against staying open. For some companies, it is the first time they have had their doors closed on Thanksgiving since the 1980s, according to USA Today.
“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” said Walmart CEO John Furner. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
Although stores will be closed the evening of Black Friday, shoppers will not miss out on the discounted prices. Deals began both in-store and online as early as Nov. 20 for some retailers with others following shortly after. This year, companies opted for a more Cyber Monday approach, making all deals accessible online in order to minimize flocking to stores. Most retailers have divided deals depending on the category they fall into. In this case, shoppers would have access to different savings depending on the day.
Despite the controversy surrounding the shopping holiday the tradition continued until the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation. While most major retailers are taking the holiday off, smaller chains such as Cabela’s and Big Lots will be open.
While businesses have adapted to this new version of Black Friday deals, online holiday savings have caused overload for retail websites in the past. Target, Paypal and Foot Locker are among several businesses that have experienced website crashes due to a sudden increase in network traffic. Since consumers are encouraged to browse online deals this year, increased holiday cyber-shopping is expected and any bugs or glitches could result in major revenue loss for these companies.
“Customers usually shop on these days with the specific intent to make purchases, often big ones,” said Todd DeCapua, executive director at JP Morgan. “If those purchases aren't made from your store, they're almost certainly going to be made from someone else.”
For shoppers looking to take advantage of online deals but avoid lines and potential shipping fees, curbside pickup may be their best bet this season. This method allows people of high-risk to shop in the comfort of their homes without the worry and struggle of being around others.
By offering discounts days in advance, businesses are able to separate shoppers and prevent crowding. Although there will not be any midnight madness frenzies this year, all stores will open the following day with unmodified hours.