Best Buy will offer a range of items including laptops and televisions at discount holiday prices throughout the month of November. But while choosing to close on Thanksgiving like other retailers, it will open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday in traditional early-bird fashion.
On Thursday, the Richfield-based electronics chain announced additional details on its holiday sales plans as retailers nationwide prepare for an unusual shopping season as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.
Some of Best Buy's sales are already live, and the retailer also gave a preview earlier this month during the same time that Amazon offered its Prime Day deals.
"As we've said, Black Friday isn't just one day this year — it's months long," Best Buy said in a news release. "Shoppers will have even more opportunities to score deals straight from the Black Friday ad before the end of November."
Best Buy joins big retailers such as Walmart and Target in closing on Thanksgiving. It said it would be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Black Friday, what for years was the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Last year, Best Buy opened at 8 a.m. on Black Friday and was ready for shoppers at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
Best Buy has already extended its current hours, so doors are now open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Face masks are required, and they will be provided to customers who don't have them. Each store will have a dedicated host employee at the front to help direct customers as well as manage store capacity and lines. Stickers will be placed on the floor of stores and outside to help with social distancing guidelines.
"I think what we're trying to avoid is the kind of natural response of lines at stores on Black Friday," said Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, earlier this week at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. "That just can't happen."
Customers also can get their products without physically shopping in the store by using curbside pickup, store pickup, same-day delivery or free next-day delivery on thousands of items and purchases over $35. Consumers also can pick up their orders at more than 16,000 alternate locations such as participating CVS stores.
Thursday's announcement did not offer any updates on some of Best Buy's recent technological and logistical initiatives, including a push for about 250 stores to operate as online shipping hubs and a pilot project to offer self-service, in-aisle checkout. Barry said during an August earnings call that store employees at 200 Best Buy locations have been making same-day deliveries to customers.
Also on Thursday, Target unveiled its first slate of "Black Friday Now" deals, a series of weeklong sales that will run through November. Target stores will open at 7 a.m. on Black Friday, the usual time the majority of stores open.
The coronavirus pandemic has upended the holiday shopping season with retailers announcing evolving logistical plans the last few weeks as they work to address safety concerns. Many have taken the approach to spread out sales throughout the month of November and offer a plethora of contactless shopping options to limit crowding inside stores.
For years, retailers have flirted with the tactic of making sales available earlier, a phenomenon known as "Black Friday creep," but this year, the sales appear to be starting earlier than ever with many Black Friday deals already being offered in October.
Shoppers across the country are expected to be more conservative in their spending this year, based on some studies. Accounting and consulting firm Deloitte predicted in its annual holiday survey that consumers across the country will spend an average of $1,387 this season, down by 7% compared with a year ago.
Shoppers in the Twin Cities are predicted to spend even less, $995 per household this holiday, down 28% from last year, Deloitte's survey said. Much of the cautious spending is attributed to shoppers' concerns about the economy.
Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495