Walmart Takes Steps To Prevent More Black Friday Chaos And Tragedy

Hoping to avoid anything even close to last year’s tragic Black Friday human stampede, Walmart stores nationwide aren’t opening at the crack of dawn. Instead of opening their doors at 5 A.M. and inviting sales-crazed frenzies, they will open at 6 A.M. on Thanksgiving Day, then remain open overnight.

“(Shoppers) will be dispersed through a 200,000 square foot store as opposed to all being right by the front door, waiting to go in,” said spokesman David Tovar.

It may not be for the same reason, but other retailers are spreading what would normally be their Black Friday sales out throughout the month of November. Sears declared Halloween weekend a sort of Orange and Black Friday, and other chains are trying similar strategies.

“We see a lot of retailers looking at what happened last year and they are starting to roll out their Black Friday promotions earlier,” said John Squire, chief strategy officer for Coremetics, which gathers information about consumers’ online behavior for retailers including Macy’s Inc. (M), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (JCP), Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF).

“There is a certain amount of cash and retailers want to strike early while it is still there,” Squire said.

Because consumers have come to take big discounting for granted, retailers will have to be generous. “There has to be a sale sign; there has to be a markdown,” Ferrara said.

I was hoping that all marketers would have some respect for the late Jdimytai Damour and refrain from using the term “Doorbuster” in his honor in this year’s Black Friday advertising, but no such luck.

Wal-Mart looks to control crowds on Black Friday [Reuters]
Retailers Making ‘Black Friday’ A Month-Long Effort [Wall Street Journal]

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(Photo: Koonisutra)