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Guest Post: Bye-Bye Black Friday?

Breaking with tradition, national chains including Best Buy, Walmart and Target plan to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day

Editor’s note: This article is reprinted with permission from AVB and Alan Wolf, Senior Communications Specialist, AVB/BrandSource.

In his keynote address at the 2020 Virtual Convention, AVB Merchandising VP Chad Evans suggested that COVID would quell the Black Friday queues that traditionally circle box stores on Thanksgiving.

How right he was.

Breaking with tradition, national chains including Best Buy, Walmart and Target plan to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, and at least one big-box retailer — The Home Depot — is dispensing with Black Friday altogether.

In a statement, the No. 1 home improvement chain said it will begin implementing Black Friday pricing in early November and, in the interest of safety and wellbeing, will do away with the “one day of frenzied shopping” that historically follows Thanksgiving. The retailer said it is “reinventing Black Friday” by offering doorbuster discounts through December, and that the improved shopping experience will help customers avoid the stress and crowds associated with holiday shopping.

Like Home Depot, Best Buy promised to begin offering “some of the hottest deals of the season earlier than ever,” and Walmart underscored this year’s fourth-quarter jump start by listing “The Hottest Toys of the 2020 Holiday Season” on Sept. 3.

Target too is making its “biggest holiday deals … available earlier than ever,” the company said, as “deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events — and this isn’t the year for crowds.”

In addition, Home Depot is joining other discounters in keeping its doors closed this Thanksgiving in deference to the front-line employees who worked through the pandemic. As Walmart U.S. president/CEO John Furner said, “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. We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”

The Thanksgiving store closings and ever-earlier holiday promotions represent a continuation of long-fomenting fourth-quarter trends. But as AVB CEO Jim Ristow pointed out in his Convention keynote, COVID is a “great accelerator” of shopping habits, and the holiday selling season is no exception.

See also: “#NotCancelled” AVB’s Virtual Fall Convention Packed With Fun, Deals And Success