Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

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Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY
Published 5:44 p.m. ET July 28, 2020 | Updated 8:29 p.m. ET July 28, 2020

If you did some holiday shopping this year, there’s a good chance you made purchases online.

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Thanksgiving is still four months away but retailers are preparing for a different holiday shopping season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

For years, Thanksgiving and Black Friday have marked the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season and the time of year when shoppers get focused on holiday spending.

That rush of spending gave Black Friday its name, as in the time of year when retailers were “in the black.” For nearly a decade, that official kickoff has been creeping ever closer to Thanksgiving, eating into time people used to spend around the holiday table.

Enter 2020 and the pandemic.

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Some of the nation’s largest retailers, who usually share holiday plans starting in October, have announced they are breaking with recent tradition and will close on Thanksgiving.

Walmart kicked off the Thanksgiving closure announcements July 21 with Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods making similar declarations Monday.

Best Buy joined the list Tuesday saying the holiday season is “going to look different.”

“To meet our customers’ changing lives this holiday, we’re enhancing the way we fulfill orders, from offering more convenient pick-up options at our stores, to making sure BestBuy.com orders arrive at the right time,” the electronics retailer said in a statement.

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Neil Saunders, managing director of the retail consultancy Global Data, said he expects more stores will soon announce holiday closings.

“Under present conditions, the idea of any retailer driving crowds of people into their store is a non-starter,” Saunders said. “No retailer can run the risk of overcrowding and so all will be looking to balance the need to drive sales with the need to keep people safe.”

Other retailers have not announced whether they will open on Thanksgiving like they have in the past. USA TODAY reached out to Kohl’s, Macy’s and others but none of them would say whether they would be open on Thanksgiving or not. 

Office Depot confirmed it planned to keep its stores closed again on Thanksgiving.

Some retailers have traditionally stayed closed on the holiday including Apple, wholesale clubs Costco and Sam’s Club, home improvement stores Home Depot and Lowe’s. (See the stores closed Thanksgiving 2019 here.)

While stores are saying they will stay closed on Thanksgiving, they haven’t shared yet when they will open on Black Friday and how the sales will be handled. In past years, they started to share holiday plans including when they would kick off Black Friday sales in late October or early November.

Michael Brown, a partner in the consumer practice at Kearney, a global strategy and management consultant firm, said holiday sales will need to start “as early as October for retailers to have enough selling days in restricted occupancy stores.”

“You’ll see dramatic spikes in e-commerce sales, so shoppers should expect longer shipping times as fulfillment centers run at peak,” Brown said. “They’ll also see some inconsistency in delivery times as fulfillment centers may close if a COVID-19 case is discovered.”

Retailers have also shared deals will start earlier than past years.

“We’re also going to start offering some of the hottest deals of the season earlier than ever, to make it even easier for our customers to check off their gift lists,” Best Buy said in its statement.

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Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Kohl's added curbside pickup before it started to reopen stores temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Kohl’sFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Best Buy started offering curbside pickup while stores were closed due to COVID-19. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAYFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Aldi says it is adding curbside pickup at 600 stores by the end of July. Elise Amendola, APFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Dick's Sporting Goods rolled out curbside pickup and curbside returns during the pandemic. jeepersmedia / FlickrFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Apple is giving consumers the options to pick up their orders curbside. Kathy Willens, APFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Barnes & Noble. Barnes & NobleFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Ace Hardware. ALEX COOPER / OBSERVER-DISPATCHFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Big Lots. Big LotsFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

GameStop added curbside pickup while it kept some of its stores closed.  Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.comFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

GNC has added curbside at locations in shopping plazas. The retailer plans to close up to 1,200 locations. Kelly Tyko/USA TODAYFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Home Depot, even as many of its locations remained open during the pandemic. Lokibaho / Getty ImagesFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

J.C. Penney started offering curbside pickup at some of its locations as they reopen after temporary COVID-19 closures. J.C. PenneyFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Arts and crafts retailers Michaels and JOANN both introduced curbside pickup during the pandemic. JOANN.Fullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Lowe's, like Home Depot, offered curbside pickup while staying open as an essential business. ivanastar / Getty ImagesFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Macy's reopened stores performing better than expected with many adding curbside pickup. Macy’sFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Arts and crafts retailers Michaels and JOANN both introduced curbside pickup during the pandemic. Anthony92931 / Wikimedia CommonsFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Office Depot.  Mike Mozart / FlickrFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Kroger. KrogerFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Old Navy starting adding curbside pickup at some stores during the pandemic. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAYFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Sam's Club is adding curbside pickup to clubs nationwide by the end of June.
  Sam’s ClubFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Once Upon A Child is one of the stores offering curbside pickup.
  Once Upon A Child.Fullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

PetSmart is one of the stores offering curbside pickup. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAYFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Plato's Closet recently started offering curbside pickup.
  Kelsy Kremer/The RegisterFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Play It Again Sports is offering curbside pickup. Play It Again Sports.Fullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Sally's Beauty Supply is one of the stores offering curbside pickup. Sally Beauty.Fullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Target is adding fresh and frozen groceries to its store pickup options, including its Drive Up curbside pickup, at 1,500 stores by the holidays. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAYFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Walmart recently combined its grocery app with its main app to allow consumers to shop for items in multiple departments. WalmartFullscreen

Holiday shopping is changing amid COVID-19 pandemic with Best Buy, Walmart, Target closed Thanksgiving

Signet Jewelers, which operates 3,172 stores globally primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared The Galleria Of Jewelry and Piercing Pagoda, started offering curbside pickup at some locations during the pandemic. Signet Jewelers/Matt BrownFullscreen

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Closed Thanksgiving 2020

This list will be updated as more retailers make announcements.

Best Buy

Dick’s Sporting Goods

Target

Walmart

Contributing: Charisse Jones

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