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Here’s how businesses are preparing for Black Friday in the midst of a pandemic

Stores across South Florida are prepared for a different kind of Black Friday this year, a day that usually brings crowded aisles and long lines.

But the biggest retail shopping day of the year will come with socially distanced protections against the coronavirus and deals to encourage shopping from 比特币交易价格行情home.

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Many retail stores are using the same protective measures they’ve had in place since the beginning of the pandemic including limits on the number of shoppers allowed at a time and enhanced cleaning protocols. They’ve also extended their Black Friday sales over multiple days to try and limit crowds of people in stores.

Stores at the Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens and the Pembroke Lakes Mall in Pembroke Pines are among those who started their Black Friday sales early.

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“We appreciate their efforts to spread out their crowds and expect healthy traffic throughout the season as a result,” a spokesperson for Pembroke Lakes Mall said. “While things might look a bit different, Pembroke Lakes is here and open for the tradition of Black Friday shopping to continue.”

Security guards at the mall patrol the area to make sure people are wearing masks inside and adhering to social distancing, which will more than likely help with crowd control. The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale also has similar protections in place and offers curbside pick up for anyone not comfortable with shopping in the mall.

“It’s been so up and down, but traffic has certainly picked up over the last few weeks,” said Melissa Milroy, the senior marketing manager for the Galleria. “I think we will see people in the mall for sure, but people are being cautious.”

Whether or not crowds will be smaller — or if sales will be down — is yet to be seen. But a recent survey of shoppers done by Deloitte gives a small hint: As many as 38% of shoppers plan to spend less money, partly out of concern for economic stability and a desire to save more. And while people feel more comfortable shopping online, according to the survey, they will probably spend about 7% less this year per household.

The stakes are high as many businesses rely on Black Friday sales to make their holiday-season sales expectations, said Florida Atlantic University professor Siri Terjesen.

“It’s critical for these retailers for making their fourth quarter forecasts,” Terjesen said. “I would think that Black Friday is important for local stores as well. The pop-up booths around the mall absolutely need the traffic as well.”

Big name retailers like Target, Best Buy and Walmart also have similar measures in place to protect shoppers this season. Target for the first time rolled out “Black Friday Now,” which makes Black Friday deals available for a week and released their Black Friday deals early so shoppers could know in advance what they wanted. WalMart did something similar by spacing out their Black Friday deals to encompass three days, while Best Buy is encouraging shoppers to use contactless pickup and handing out complimentary masks to shoppers.

“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event. By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates,” said Scott McCall, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for Walmart U.S..

But it all hinges on making sales this year and whether shoppers will have the disposable income to shop at stores, Terjesen explained. The unemployment rate in Florida has steadily declined as businesses reopened throughout the state, but it remains to be seen how that translates into sales.

“We need to spend money to stimulate the economy,” Terjesen said. “There are a lot of retailers who, if they don’t do well, this will be one of many nails in the coffin. A good Black Friday could stave that off.”

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