PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After the pandemic forced shoppers to stay home after enjoying their Thanksgiving meals last year, many people are looking forward to going out for Black Friday like they did in year’s past.
But the Black Friday landscape is changing, especially after businesses were forced to improvise to ensure shoppers could make their holiday purchases safely.
“Instead of Black Friday it’s now ‘Black November,'” Johnson & Wales marketing professor Kristen Regine said. “So, really the push has been spread out over the month.”
Regine said with the extended sales, shoppers aren’t feeling as pressured to get their holiday shopping done all in one day.
Even so, a survey conducted by the Nation Retail Federation estimates that more than 158 million shoppers plan to make purchases throughout Thanksgiving weekend, and nearly 31 million people plan to spend money on the holiday itself.
“The average person is spending just under $1,000,” Regine said.
For those planning on heading out on Black Friday, Warwick Mall general manager Domenic Schiavone said the majority of the stores there will open at 5 a.m. this year instead of midnight, like in year’s past.
“I know the stores here have worked very hard to make sure they have all the inventory and all the gifts,” he said, adding that they plan on continuing their COVID-19 cleaning protocols throughout the holiday shopping season.
Garden City Center marketing manager Faith Lockhart said the outdoor shopping plaza will be opening at 8 a.m., as it has for the last several years.
“As far as deals, it’s really a store-by-store basis,” Lockhart said.
Since stores will have varying COVID-19 protocols, it’s best to have a face mask on hand, even if you’re fully vaccinated against the virus.