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This Year’s Black Friday Will Be Unlike Any We’ve Seen Before. How Are Retailers Preparing?




A sign announces a price markdown for Black Friday on the display window of a shop in Madrid on November 23, 2020.
A sign announces a price markdown for Black Friday on the display window of a shop in Madrid on November 23, 2020.
GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

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One of the trademarks of our pandemic lives is the avoidance of large gatherings—concerts, parties— but if there’s one thing Black Friday is known for, it’s crowds. 

We’ve all seen the viral videos of disgruntled people fighting over discount televisions, or shoppers sleeping in tents while waiting in crowded hours-long lines outside big box stores. But with COVID-19 cases spiking around the country, retailers are having to adapt the American shopping tradition into something markedly smaller in order to keep shoppers safe. Pressure will be on virtual sales, a years-long shifting trend that will likely be accelerated this year. Though many people are unemployed and financially anxious, forecasters are anticipating pent-up demand that could salvage Black Friday sales goals.

How are you planning to shop Black Friday sales this year? Give us a call at 866-893-5722 to join the conversation.

Guests:

Rachel Michelin, president and CEO of the California Retailers Association, the trade group representing all aspects of retail in the state; she tweets @RachelEMichelin

Sucharita Kodali, e-commerce analyst at Forrester Research, a technology research and advisory firm based in Cambridge, MA; she tweets @smulpuru