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InvestmentsWith U.S. inventories tight, 'Black Friday' drags through November By Reuters

With U.S. inventories tight, ‘Black Friday’ drags through November By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People wait in line to buy on Black Friday in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, U.S., November 27, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

By Richa Naidu and Arriana McLymore

CHICAGO (Reuters) -Facing scarce year-end inventories and a scarcity of staff, retailers are turning “Black Friday” right into a month-long occasion.

Walmart (NYSE:), the world’s largest retailer, mentioned on Monday it had already began “Black Friday” reductions https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/amazon-bets-black-friday-deals-early-holiday-shopping-push-2021-10-04, corresponding to $30 off AirPods and KidKraft dollhouses. Walmart, whose shops might be closed on Thanksgiving for the second 12 months in a row, mentioned it might solely supply the identical reductions in shops on Friday.

Rival big-box retailer Target (NYSE:) on Sunday started operating its personal Black Friday gross sales, corresponding to as much as 30% off Samsung (KS:) and TCL flat display screen televisions, and 50% off headphones. Target mentioned on Monday that any more, it is going to maintain all its roughly 1,900 shops closed on Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving weekend beforehand kicked off the U.S. vacation buying season with “doorbuster” reductions that had customers lining up for blocks exterior brick-and-mortar shops throughout the nation on Black Friday, the day following Thanksgiving. In current years, buying at shops on Black Friday has pale, with on-line gross sales on the day outpacing brick-and-mortar gross sales https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-holidayshopping-sales-idINKBN1Y50S5 for the primary time in 2019.

This 12 months, retailers began selling on-line vacation “deals” as early as September https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/amid-supply-chain-snarls-retailers-pitch-early-holiday-shopping-2021-10-01, as a result of the continuing provide chain logjam https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/global-supply-chain-logjams-costs-focus-restaurant-chains-report-earnings-2021-10-26 threatened to dam them from bringing new merchandise from Asia into the United States within the weeks earlier than the Christmas vacation. But the bargains are modest. Retailers are anticipated to dangle worth cuts of 5%-to-25% this Friday, solely barely deeper than the 5%-to-10%-off reductions they provided in October, in response to Adobe (NASDAQ:) Digital Economy Index.

Best Buy mentioned on Tuesday https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/best-buy-forecasts-holiday-quarter-comparable-sales-below-estimates-2021-11-23 throughout an earnings convention that beginning its Black Friday promotions in mid-October harm quarterly revenue margins.

Retailers have more and more lowered Black Friday retailer hours as consumers flip to on-line buying. “Are discounts going to be as prevalent and as deep as they normally have been in the last few years?” asked Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group. “No, not if the demand for product is high and the supply is low – there’s no reason to promote discounts.”

“Stores are attempting to berate the general public into considering ‘get it now or it might be gone,” said 70-year-old artist Maggie Smith from Tucson, Arizona.

According to a Reuters/IPSOS poll of about 1,000 people, more than a fifth of shoppers said they planned to primarily buy gifts online this year, while only 12% said they would shop primarily in stores. Online sales on Black Friday itself are expected to increase by 5% to $9.5 billion, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

Walmart and Target both said they would invest more in same-day options, including the ability for shoppers to pick up merchandise ordered online.

But fulfilling quick-turn online orders could put pressure on retailers’ labor forces at a time when warehouse workers are in short supply.

“We’re seeing double-time for those shifts and increases in the pay, but then that’s going to be painful,” said Andy Halliwell, senior director of retail at consultancy Publicis Sapient. “That’s going to come out of the retailers’ margins.”

JC Penney (OTC:), which is owned by Simon Property Group (NYSE:) and Brookfield Asset Management, wants to hire 3,000 supply-chain workers in distribution centers in addition to 25,000 seasonal associates. The retailer is offering $2,000 retention bonuses for select supply chain associates in certain locations.

Macy’s, which plans to rent 71,000 seasonal staff, mentioned that almost one-third of these workers will work in achievement facilities throughout the nation, and Kohl’s in July mentioned it might give most bonuses of $400 to hourly retailer and provide chain associates who caught round for the vacation season.

To make certain, some retailers mentioned they’re making ready for brick-and-mortar shops to make a comeback, and mentioned they’ve sufficient stock.

“We’re seeing our clients return to in-store buying,” William White, Walmart’s chief marketing officer in the United States, told Reuters. White also said Walmart has expanded its toy assortment by “greater than double.”

For Marc Ivan, a 23-year-old pupil in Philadelphia, going to shops is not a convention he plans to surrender, despite the fact that he mentioned he’ll do most of his buying on-line as early as doable this week.

“I’ll still go out on Black Friday, just to do some casual shopping and hang out with friends.”

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