Black Friday 2021 Live Updates: Bargain hunters to turn out at stores even as pandemic fears reignite

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Black Friday becomes big again as stores close for Thanksgiving

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Black Friday has again become a staple for shoppers looking to kick-start the holiday season by visiting the mall or store.

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For years, retailers tried to downplay the start of the gift hunt. Instead of welcoming the crowds on Black Friday morning, companies began opening their doors shortly after some families had finished their turkey dinners on Thanksgiving Day.

However, the pandemic shook that dynamic – and has brought Black Friday back into the limelight. Several retailers, including Walmart, Target and Best Buy, opted to keep stores closed last Thanksgiving. He repeated the same thing again this year. Target went a step further, announcing this week that its stores would be closed on Thanksgiving Day for good.

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For retailers, some decisions are practical: Shoppers have learned that they can skip the hassle of lines and crowds, but still check off items on the gift list.

Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees, “What started out as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard – one that allows our guests’ holiday wishes to be met within store hours and well. Recognizes our ability to deliver.”

—Melissa Repko

Stores make a comeback this holiday season

One of the big changes this holiday season? Shopkeepers want to reach the shops again.

This is a big change from last year when more consumers opted for curbside pickup or dropped packages at their doorsteps due to the COVID-19 scare.

According to a survey of 1,005 people from September 24 to September 26 by the ICSC, a trade organization representing the shopping mall industry, half of US consumers said they plan to make more trips to stores to buy gifts this year. Huh. Last year, 45% said they planned to go to the mall.

It is expected to play on Black Friday as well. On the shopping holiday, 64% said they expect to make a purchase from the store, up from 51% last year, according to the National Retail Federation. The retail trade group worked with Prosper Insights & Analytics to poll 7,837 adults on their plans and progress as of November 1-10.

For some consumers, returning to the store is a way to get gift ideas, feel festive, and rekindle old traditions. For others, the decision is a practical one. In a year of supply chain crisis, people may feel peace of mind because they have a desired item on hand – or the ability to browse for a solid alternative.

—Melissa Repko

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