Thanksgiving won’t launch Black Friday shopping at some of the biggest retailers
Share Now on:
There are Thanksgiving traditions — and then there are Thanksgiving traditions, like camping out in front of big-box stores and waiting hours for the doors to open. Then comes the chaos, as shoppers climb over one another to get to big-screen TVs and other bargains.
But that’s unlikely to be the scene this year at some of the nation’s biggest retailers. Walmart, Target and Best Buy have announced that they won’t be jump-starting the “official” Black Friday weekend by opening stores on Thanksgiving.
“When all is said and done, creating crowds in the age of COVID-19 is a really bad idea,” said Mark Cohen, who directs the retail studies program at Columbia Business School.
It’s an easy way for stores to give their employees the day off. Plus, there’s not much to lose. Store traffic on Thanksgiving is just a small part of Black Friday weekend. And holiday sales are starting earlier and earlier each year. The pandemic has already pushed retailers into offering deep discounts. “It’s kind of a ritual that doesn’t have as much economic value as it once had,” Cohen said.
Still, rituals are important.
“It is a day that is very ceremonial,” said Sucharita Kodali, a retail analyst at Forrester. “It marks the beginning of the holiday season psychologically for a lot of people.”
And more of them have already been marking it online because of deeper discounts, better financing and free shipping. On Black Friday last year, 10 million more people shopped online than in stores, according to the National Retail Federation.
But Kodali isn’t so sure retailers will go as far as canceling Black Friday altogether. Even in a pandemic, stores like Target and Walmart can’t afford to take the weekend off. And for nonessential retailers, the weekend may be even more important. “The challenge is that some of the largest retailers, particularly in the apparel space and the department store space, are down so terribly they need Q4.”
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?
This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.
Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?
India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.
You make our
Support nonprofit news you love with a gift today.