Walmart announced Wednesday that it will spread out its Black Friday deals across three weekends in November as part of its pledge “to meet the evolving needs of its customers this holiday season.”
“I’m really excited that this year, when it matters most to our customers, we’re offering them more convenient and safer ways to shop Black Friday at Walmart, whether that’s from the shelf in one of our stores, ordering online and picking it up curbside, or having it delivered right to their front door,” said Executive Vice President Scott McCall.
The move is meant in part to reduce congestion and crowding in the store as the coronavirus pandemic enters the fall and flu season. Forty states have seen increases in coronavirus cases compared to last week, according to the Washington Post. Twenty cases have hit new seven-day average highs. According to the New York Times, the national 14-day trend marks a 21% increase as the U.S. caseload reaches levels not seen since mid-August.
For the first time, Walmart is incorporating its online sales platform into its Black Friday deals, taking advantage of the significant shift to online purchases following nationwide coronavirus restrictions. In its most recent quarterly earnings report, Walmart noted that its eCommerce sales nearly doubled compared to the same period last year, growing “97% with strong results across all channels.”
“Customers will have the option to pick up their online Black Friday order through Walmart’s contact-free curbside pickup service,” according to the release.
Those online sales are driving the company’s increased revenues compared to last year — Walmart reported a 9.3% increase in sales across all U.S. platforms. Despite incurring “incremental costs related to COVID-19 of $1.5 billion dollars” and a net decrease of 6.8% in global net sales after adjusting for currency, Walmart says it saw “strong top-line and gross margin results.”
Walmart’s Black Friday Deals for Days will begin online Nov. 4 and in stores Nov. 7, with two more events following a similar staggered start date approach.
“By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” McCall added.
Walmart also said that during its Black Friday events, stores will open at 5 a.m. local time and that it will monitor the number of customers in the store.