Investors are bracing themselves for the shortest trading week of the year as the holiday season comes calling, starting with the observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. All the major exchanges will remain closed on Thursday and close early, on Friday, as Investors break for thanksgiving and Good Friday.
Thanks Giving- Black Friday Shopping
Even as investors take off from the market, it promises to be a shopping bonanza for retail outlets as customers look to get a piece of the big discounts on offer. However, it promises to be a different shopping season with the pandemic in full swing. A string of restrictions designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus is expected to hurt traffic to most retail outlets.
However, it promises to be a booming business on e-commerce platforms, which have turned out to be the go to place for the better part of the year. Retail outlets led by the likes of Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT), Target and Kohl’s Corporation (NYSE:KSS) have been stocking their online platforms with impressive deals as they look to entice customers.
While a number of major retailers are expected to remain closed on thanksgiving to mitigate crowds and promote social distance, most of them are expected to keep their online portals up and running. Unlike in the past years, retailers will no longer scramble to offer earlier and earlier opening hours this thanksgiving to compete for deals.
Most of the retailers have already started offering Black-Friday type of discounts online, expected to make up for the store closure on thanksgiving. Online sales have been ticking up in line with a change in consumer shopping patterns as people seek to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
According to Target CEO Brian Cornell, they have altered their promotional cadence to avoid events that normally lead to overcrowding. Rather than concentrating deals around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, they have opted to spread the deals throughout the month of November.
Target has also had to add over 1000 mobile checkout devices across its fleet of the store. It has also offered more items eligible for same-day pickup. On its part, Best Buy has opted to offer additional order pick-up locations at United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) stores and CVS Health Corp (NYSE:CVS), conversely extending curbside pickup hours throughout the holiday season.
Digital Sales Boom
The restructuring is expected to push digital sales higher as online shopping becomes the new norm. Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) has already registered a 155% increase in sales in the recent quarter, with Walmart also registering a 79% increase in sales. In October, e-commerce sales in all retailers jumped by more than 30%, affirming the fact that online shopping can only continue to grow.
Digitally-focused companies such as Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) remain well-positioned to benefit as digital sales continue to increase. Backed by a robust same-day delivery network, they are sure to attract huge customer traffic as people opt to do shopping from home and have goods delivered at their doorstep. Chinese e-commerce heavyweight Alibaba Group Holding (NYSE:BABA) posted record sales during the Singles Day event, all but affirming e-commerce is the new norm in retail.