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Retailers prepare for the worst, hope for the best this 'Black Friday'

"Retailers cautiously optimistic"
Posted at 10:15 AM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 10:58:05-05

BALTIMORE, Md. — Anxious bargain hunters don't have to wait until Friday to catch the best sales.

In the year 2020, ‘Black Friday’ sales start earlier and last longer than ever due to Covid-19.

Jill Gonzalez, a senior analyst with the personal finance website WalletHub, said “because we were seeing extra time, not only shipping, but manufacturing in general, especially with things that are made overseas, we've being seeing delays. So, consumers have noticed that they've got to jump on things, and retailers themselves have noticed that and they have to jump on things as well.”

Gonzalez believes shoppers will still see big discounts on popular items like electronics but other products might not see as many deep price cuts as in years past.

“We're used to seeing them on electronics, which I do think we will see, since so many of us maybe need to upgrade our electronics since we are working from home more. We’re used to seeing them on toys. I think we might see them a little bit less on toys because we are seeing consumers spend a little bit less on those for fun items” Gonzalez said.

Adding to a year filled with breaks from routine, a recent WalletHub survey found one in three people are skipping gift giving this year.

“Because of things related to Covid-19, whether it's health, whether it's unemployment, a lot of people are not going to be spending the same amount of money they did in 2019 or years prior” Gonzalez said.

Which means whether this Black Friday lasts a day, a week, or a month, many retailers might still see red.

“They are cautiously optimistic that people will be spending maybe more than they have projected. A couple quarters ago spending for Black Friday was down about 40 percent. That was the projection. I don't think it will be that bad, but only time will tell,” Gonzalez said.

READ MORE: Major retailers running sales days and weeks in advance leading up to 'Black Friday'

In recent years many stores like Target, Walmart and Best Buy opened early to shoppers after people finished their second helping of turkey or last bite of pumpkin pie, but this Thanksgiving, those three retailers and several others will be closed.