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US Retailers Plan Longer Holiday Season

Target and Macy’s will begin sales early to avoid health and safety risks.
Oct 4, 2020 6:06 AM   By Rapaport News
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A number of US retailers will launch their holiday sales earlier this year as a way to prevent overcrowding by last-minute shoppers and minimize health and safety risks.

“Retailers are prepared for an early start to the shopping season, offering discounts earlier to ensure consumers can find the gifts they want,” National Retail Federation (NRF) CEO Matthew Shay said last week.

The holiday season generally starts in November and runs through the end of December. Among those preparing an earlier start, Target said it intends to begin its sales for the season in October. The department-store chain also plans to expand Black Friday prices for the entire month of November to stagger the number of shoppers in the store at a given time.

“This year, in a holiday season unlike any other, we know it’s more important than ever for our guests to get great deals in a convenient and safe shopping environment,” stated Christina Hennington, Target’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

Macy’s will also expand its holiday offering this year, it noted last month during an investor call with Seeking Alpha.

“We are adjusting our promotional cadence to support an elongated holiday shopping season,” said Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette. “We will be taking action in our stores to disperse typical bottlenecks and control occupancy levels…. It’s hard to look at a model in the past where you would say that the holiday demand is going to move in between the goalposts of Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. I think this year is going to be different.”

However, a large portion of consumers still plan to wait until November to shop, despite coronavirus risks. Approximately 43% of holiday shoppers said they would wait until November to start buying for the season, according to an NRF survey. Meanwhile, 59% of respondents intend to do more online holiday shopping this year, compared with the previous year.

The NRF has launched a national campaign, “New Holiday Traditions,” to promote early shopping amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: A woman shopping at the mall during the holiday season. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: Christina Hennington, COVID-19, holiday season, jeff gennette, Macy’s, Matthew Shay, National Retail Federation, New Holiday Traditions, NRF, Rapaport News, target, US retail
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