Christmas is coming early at many big retailers

Two students from McAllen ISD walk in with Santa Claus, aka Steve Ayala McAllen police officer, as they do some Christmas shopping at Target on Wednesday, Dec.11, 2019 in McAllen. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor

HARLINGEN — Christmas jingles while you’re shopping in October?

Well, hold tight to your tree tinsel, because the holidays are coming early this year.

Big-time retailers like Target, Walmart, Best Buy and others are looking to get a jump on the traditional holiday shopping season in the face of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic, shutdowns and social-distancing orders.

Holiday tradition, at least when it comes to retail, means the big push kicks off on the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, which for decades has served as the bell ringing in the Christmas shopping season.

Also joining in to offer early holiday pricing that could begin in October are Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works.

Black Friday, so named because it was known as the day that put retailers’ books in the black for the year when it comes to profitability, has been declining in importance even pre-COVID, increasingly marginalized by new shopping patterns and the rise of online purchasing.

“And finally, as we look ahead to the fourth quarter, we’re focusing first-time guests and team member safety, developing plans, reduce crowds and spread out demand throughout the season,” said Target CEO Brian Cornell this month at an earnings conference call. “Specifically, we’ll be spreading our best price holiday offers over a longer timeframe.”

“Beginning in October, guests can shop safely and conveniently, without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come only late in the season,” he added. “We’ve also announced that we’ll be closing stores on Thanksgiving, sending a clear signal to guests that they won’t need to stand in line in crowded stores to get a great deal.”

Walmart and Best Buy, among others, also have said this year they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, one of the bigger shopping days in past years.