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BSU Prof: COVID-19 has “killed” Black Friday

MUNCIE, Ind. (Network Indiana): The coronavirus pandemic may have killed Black Friday, says one Ball State professor.

Steve Horowitz, a Ball State free enterprise expert, tells Inside Indiana Business that Black Friday as we know will be dead this year because of all the precautions that stores and retailers will be taking this year to negate the spread of COVID-19.

“There is just no way they can accommodate the typical kinds of crowds and crowding that we associate with Black Friday,” Horowitz said. “So, they have to try and thin it out and make it work.”

Horowitz says some stores are likely to close altogether both on Black Friday and Thanksgiving to keep people from standing in line. Major retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have already announced their intentions to be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Horowitz said by closing on Thanksgiving this will discourage people from waiting in line for Black Friday deals the day before. He also expects retailers to extend their Black Friday deals beyond Black Friday itself.

“What they are going to do is socially distance their customers by stretching them out through time,” said Horowitz. “Saying ‘let’s make those deals available for a longer period of time’ so that there is no one point, one day everyone is trying to crowd in and get these things done.”

Even with safety measures in place, Horowitz believes this year could be another nail in the coffin of Black Friday as we know it in the future.

“From what we’ve seen, at least this year, Black Friday as we know it will be dead,” said Horowitz. “Online retail is not going to go away once the pandemic is over. So, I think Black Friday as we know it is probably gone for good.”

He said this year’s restrictions for in-person shopping will drive even more people towards online shopping, which is he says is bad news for brick and mortar stores that offer Black Friday deals every year.

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