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Walmart to offer Black Friday deals earlier as pandemic changes needs of shoppers

Retailer also hiring more seasonal workers to meet online demand
Walmart to offer Black Friday deals earlier as pandemic changes needs of shoppers
Posted at 9:47 AM, Sep 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-24 12:52:27-04

BENTONVILLE, Ark. – This holiday shopping season is expected to be like no other, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, so retailers will need to adjust accordingly.

Wednesday, Walmart announced its plans for how it intends to meet the changing needs of customers in the coming months.

Specifically, the retail giant plans to address these areas: earlier holiday shopping deals, increased online shopping, evolving wish lists, and the need for safe shopping experiences.

Expanded Black Friday deals

Walmart is promising an “all-new Black Friday experience,” with deals being offered earlier. The retailer says it will spread the traditional Black Friday savings throughout the season and will have more deals available online.

“We’ve heard from our customers that many plan on starting their holiday shopping well before Black Friday and that they’re looking for gifts that fit their current lifestyle,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S. “So, we’ve adjusted our strategy to adapt to these new shopping preferences – we’re offering more of what they want now, earlier than ever, and all at the best prices.”

No additional details were provided about the Black Friday expansion, but the store said it will share more soon.

Seasonal hiring to meet online demand

With many Americans expected to do much of their shopping online this year, Walmart says it will hire more than 20,000 seasonal associates in its eCommerce fulfillment centers across the country. Interest applicants can click here to apply.

There are a variety of open positions, including order fillers and power equipment operators, that begin at a starting hourly rate ranging from $15.75 up to $23.75 based on location, position and schedule.

In many instances, Walmart says these positions will have the opportunity to convert to regular employment.

“The holidays are always a special time, and this year, we think the season will mean even more to our customers. As more of them turn to online shopping, we want to ensure we’re staffed and ready to help deliver that special gift to their loved ones while continuing to fulfill our customer’s everyday needs,” said Greg Smith, executive vice president for supply chain for Walmart U.S.

Increasing availability of ‘new normal’ gifts

Walmart says it’s increasing the availability of unexpected holiday gifts that reflect lifestyles in this “new normal,” including athleisure, loungewear and sleepwear for the family, outdoor grills, bicycles and exercise equipment and outdoor sporting equipment.

The retailer says it has also increased inventory in electronics, with a focus on TVs, laptops and video games, as well as kitchen appliances.

As for the kids, Walmart says it will have over 1,300 new toys, including puzzles, games, Legos and more than 800 Walmart-exclusives this holiday season.

Changes made for safer shopping amid pandemic

Like many stores, Walmart has taken several steps to help protect customers and its employees from contracting the coronavirus. Those changes include reduced store hours, required face coverings, installation of sneeze guards, and traffic management in store.

The retailer says it also offers several ways for customers to safely find items on their lists, where they shop in stores or on Walmart.com. Those options include contactless pickup and delivery services, and contactless payment in store.