As supply chain concerns push consumers to shop earlier for the holidays, retailers, including Best Buy, are forecasting sales ahead like last year.
Many retail analysts predict popular items could sell out within the next month due to supply chain bottlenecks forcing domestic retailers like Target to charter their own cargo ships and find other creative solutions.
“We’ve been in this business for almost 20 months,” said Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, who was on the Today Show Thursday morning to talk about the shipping crisis that is forcing retailers to start preparing for vacations early. “Consumer electronics was one of the first categories to really emerge. … And so our teams have worked really hard with our supplier partners all this time to bring the product. This means we have planned well in advance for the holidays. “
As it hinted that customers weren’t too subtle to “start shopping now,” Best Buy announced this week that its first holiday promotions will begin next week. The electronics retailer also said the biggest traditional Black Friday sale would start on November 19 instead of the day after Thanksgiving.
Kohl’s said on Friday it would also start holiday sales next week.
Best Buy, Target and Walmart will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, as Black Friday sales and weekend plans are designed in part to minimize crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.
Large retailers will be staggering holiday sales over the next several months, in line with last year’s early sales launch by many national retailers. This week, Target’s Deal Days kicked off the start of the holiday season with sales on headphones, TVs, clothing and more.
The Minneapolis-based retailer also announced one of its holiday promotions available in early December this week: a limited-edition design partnership with Lego Group that offers brightly colored clothing, home items and more.
The Ridgedale Center, which will be closed for Thanksgiving, has started to see an increase in sales that officials attribute to early holiday purchases.
“While there aren’t any exhibits for the holidays yet, I imagine they will be earlier this year as well,” said Joan Suko, senior general manager of Minnetonka Mall.
The Mall of America, which will also close again this year for Thanksgiving, announced that it has expanded the “traditional Black Friday experience” with eight-day themes starting the Monday before Thanksgiving.
While early shopping is not uncommon, this year reaching stores or online marketplaces as early as possible is more crucial due to global supply chain issues that have delayed shipment of goods and raised concerns. as to storage of shelves.
Target is one of many major retailers that have started removing their ocean containers from freighters overnight in an attempt to ease congestion at the nation’s busiest ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.
Target said its latest move was to move around half of its containers from ships overnight. The out-of-hours movement will increase 10% more over the next 90 days, the company said.
Other retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot have also pledged to move merchandise during nighttime hours as the industry prepares for the busy holiday shopping season. Target CEO Brian Cornell took part in a virtual White House meeting with other business leaders on Wednesday as part of the Biden administration’s Supply Chain Disruption Task Force.
Many stores have tried to stock up early so they can meet consumer demand with holiday sales expected to increase 7% and 9%, according to Deloitte.
This year’s Black Friday will likely be a more moderate event with smaller crowds than before the pandemic. However, it should be busier than last year, when many consumers still weren’t buying as much in person due to concerns about COVID-19, said Chris Walton, former Target executive and co-founder of the blog and from the retail industry podcast. Omni conversation.
“People always want to go out and for many Black Friday is a social experience as much as it is an opportunity to buy things at a discount… and I think people want to do these kinds of things in the world like as much as they can, ”Walton said.
But consumers should be prepared for fewer product discounts, he said.
Walton reported to Target in September about the announcement of a holiday price match guarantee, which is in place sooner than it has ever been. The warranty allows customers to request an adjustment in the price of items if the retailer lowers the price later in the season.
Best Buy will be offering a similar Black Friday price guarantee starting next week.
Holiday Shopping Tips
The Better Business Bureau has developed a list of suggestions to help consumers get through this unusual shopping season:
- Know what products stores may be running out of, including those affected by the microchip shortage.
- Start shopping earlier than usual.
- When you find a good deal, don’t wait to buy.
- Budget your holiday shopping without expecting sales.
- Have a backup plan.
- Watch out for scams.