Walmart will spread Black Friday deals in its stores across three weekends in November in an effort to lessen crowds during the coronavirus pandemic while offering other sales online.
The company unveiled its “Black Friday Deals for Days” plan on Wednesday, with the largest retailer in the U.S. offering some deals in stores and others exclusively online to limit the number of customers in its physical locations. Walmart is one of the first major retailers announcing its adjusted plans for Black Friday, providing a hint at what the shopping holiday will look like in the coronavirus era.
Walmart’s first Black Friday event will start with deals online on Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. Eastern and other savings in stores on Nov. 7, starting at 5 a.m. local time. The next event will feature online deals starting on Nov. 11 and in stores on Nov. 14, and the third will have online deals on Nov. 25 and in-store deals on Nov. 27.
New promotions will also go online at midnight the three days of in-store sales.
Scott McCall, Walmart’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, said in a statement that the company has been “very thoughtful” when planning its Black Friday sales.
“By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” McCall said.
This year, Walmart will also permit customers for the first time to order Black Friday deals online and retrieve the products through contact-free curbside pickup service.
At the in-store events, customers will be instructed to form a single, straight line, retrieve sanitized shopping carts and wear a mask. Shoppers will move along the right side of aisles to allow for social distancing and safe shopping.
In recent years, Black Friday sales have bled into the preceding day, Thanksgiving, but this year, several retailers, including Walmart, announced they will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving as a thank you to employees.
Forecaster ShopperTrak estimated that overall foot traffic at retail stores will drop between 22 percent and 25 percent during the six-week holiday season, compared to 2019. The 10 busiest shopping days are expected to amount to 34.2 percent of all holiday traffic, while it reached 46.5 percent last year, The Associated Press reported.