Walmart to spread out deals to avoid Black Friday crowds

NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart said it will spread out its traditional one-day Black Friday deals over three weekends in November in an effort to reduce crowds in its stores during a pandemic.

The nation’s largest retailer said yesterday that more of its doorbuster deals will be reserved for online, as a way to steer more shoppers away from its stores.

The discounter, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, will kick off the deals online on November 4, with new deals in stores on November 7. The second event will begin online on November 11, followed by a similar sales event in stores on November 14. It will wrap up its discounts online on November 25 with new discounts in stores November 27, the day after Thanksgiving and the traditional Black Friday.

The details offer the first glimpse from a major retailer of what a reinvented Black Friday will look like during a pandemic. Other retailers like Macy’s have said that their Black Friday deals will be spread out and will encourage more online shopping, but none have given specific details.

The day after Thanksgiving has been losing its luster as the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season for the past several years. That’s because retailers started to usher in deals on Thanksgiving and then increasingly offering holiday discounts throughout the month. Still, despite the competition from other days, Black Friday has remained the busiest day of the year, according to ShopperTrak, which uses cameras in a range of stores to count traffic.

Walmart is spreading out its traditional one-day Black Friday deals over three weekends in November 2020. PHOTO: AP