Stores take precautions before opening Friday
If Black Friday seemed crazy before the pandemic, it’s extra intimidating this year. But stores are working to make it safe even amid a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Many large brands, like Macy’s and Target, have made deals available online throughout November. They’ve made it easier to save money without hopping in line Friday.
“Target has been doing a good job at spreading it out so we don’t have a big line out the door,” said Kelly Nassif, store director of the Target in Goleta.
Target will have extra sales throughout the weekend and will still be offering services like curbside order pickup.
But Ms. Nassid said there won’t be a large number of employees at registers and counters, an effort to keep staff safe and lines spread out.
“That’s for their safety and our team’s safety,” she said. “We’re not going to have a large army to serve our guests.”
The store is also skipping the bins and pallets that usually line the aisles on Black Friday in an effort to give customers space.
“This year, it won’t feel like Black Friday,” Ms. Nassif said. “There will be plenty of space for guests to shop.”
If a line forms, the store is ready with a barricade and security on site. Ms. Nassif isn’t too worried, but she is getting prepared for many possibilities.
“We don’t know what it’s going to look like. The unknown is always the scariest part, but Target has done a great job at staying resilient,” she said.
She likes that there are multiple deals on hot-ticket items, like televisions. This way, no one will get desperate for one sale.
Target will even price match items advertised as “Black Friday Now” deals until Dec. 24.
Macy’s started its deals Nov. 4 and launched even more specials Nov. 16. It features many products around $5, some retailing up to $45.
“This year, Black Friday at Macy’s is about allowing our customer to shop when, where and how they want — safely and friction-free,” Abigail James, Macy’s senior vice president of customer activation, said in a news release.
“Macy’s is unveiling our biggest holiday deals earlier than ever, with specially-curated deals available online and in stores throughout the month of November. Whether shopping for stocking stuffers or stocking up on your favorite brand, we are offering our customers many convenient ways to choose how they want to shop safely this holiday season,” she said.
Mark Ingalls, property manager for Camino Real Marketplace, said he anticipates a smaller turnout this year.
“Certainly we’re anticipating lower traffic volumes. Most stores and retailers will be doing an extended online Black Friday sale over the weekend,” he said.
Movie theaters are also busy over the holidays but with Santa Barbara County back in the purple tier, the theaters are closed.
Only some of Camino Real’s shops will open Friday, and Mr. Ingalls said he has been in contact with those who will.
“Traditionally, it’s a big weekend for electronics. So we mostly expect to see large crowds for Best Buy, Ulta, HomeGoods and Ross,” Mr. Ingalls said. “Some things are only available in-store for Black Friday, so some people will brave and come out and try to get those special deals.”
Few stores will be open today, despite previous years’ push to expand sales into the Thanksgiving holiday.