Retail Brands Adapt to ‘Black November’



November 20, 2020

Black Friday Sale on computer and iPhone
Black Friday Sale on computer and iPhone

COVID-19 cases in the United States have reached an all-time high, signaling a sustained second wave throughout this holiday season. Most retailers have indicated that they will be closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, as restrictions around social distancing and store capacities limit their ability to service the masses.

This year, rather than launching a short Black Friday promotion that spans over five days, many brands have chosen to extend their sales into “Black November,” with discount offers to span up to six weeks. In addition, black November discounts are primarily offered online, encouraging buyers to stay home and avoid in-person shopping.


  • Major brands, like Target, Macy’s Kohl’s, Home Depot, and more have extended their Black Friday sales over six weeks this year.
  • Target has added thousands of mobile checkout devices to help with social distancing measures; they also increased eligible items for sale-day fulfillment and doubled drive-up parking spaces for pickup.
  • Foot Locker still anticipates significant traffic within their stores, despite a month-long promotion for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Foot Locker (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/22)

From a gut-level feel, we all know how crucial digital connectivity is to our consumers. So when you think about the holiday season, it certainly is one of the seasons that digital experiences accelerate. So from the — what’s become — what’s changed from Black Friday to Black November, I guess, because the deals are all out there early.

The intensity around Cyber Monday and the work that can be done digitally, I think, certainly puts pressure on everybody that sells products digitally. So I guess I expect a good digital quarter; I wish good traffic in the stores; this is one of those, have to buy, sort of periods where we seem to be winning with our consumers.

Macy’s (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/19)

We decided to close on Thanksgiving day. We’re expecting that we’re going to bring down the traffic in brick-and-mortar on Black Friday itself and get that demand earlier.

Target (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/18)

We announced that we’d be closed on Thanksgiving and open at the regular time on Black Friday.

Rather than concentrating holiday deals around Thanksgiving and Black Friday, we’ve spread our Black Friday offers throughout the entire month of November, with weekly promotions spread across different categories throughout the month. To minimize lines, we’ve added more than 1,000 mobile checkout devices across the chain, allowing our team members to help guests check out anywhere in the store. We’ve also added thousands of gift items eligible for same-day fulfillment. And we’re entering the holiday season with more than double the number of Drive Up parking spaces compared with a year ago.

Kohl’s (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/17)

We made many adjustments to adapt to what we knew would require changes given the pandemic; I’d say, really hitting all elements of the holiday season from timing, products, value, and the experience. From a timing standpoint, we have put more emphasis on the early part of the season. So we kicked off with great energy an early Black Friday campaign.

The Home Depot (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/17)

We’ve adjusted our Black Friday event this year to cover an extended period and not just focus on one day. Additionally, for our Black Friday and our gift center events, we’ve reorganized how we place and stage our product to assist with social distancing.

Casper Sleep (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/16)

We agree that consumer trends are changing this year, undoubtedly driven by COVID and other factors; we believe that there are long shopping periods around tentpole moments within this industry. And we don’t think that we played that as well as we could have over Labor Day.

And so we changed our playbook, and we launched our Black Friday sale earlier this year. So we believe there’s a flattening out of consumer shopping across these holiday periods, and you saw us change our playbook to accommodate that. So I agree, it’s not going to be as concentrated of a holiday selling period over, historically, what had been five days.

Spin Master Corp (Earnings Call Transcript – 11/12)

Consumers have been more mission-focused in their shopping, looking to reduce the amount of time they spend shopping in stores. We believe retailers had this in mind when they started offering their Black Friday discounts earlier and spread them out so that consumers would not need to go into crowded shopping environments.

Vroom (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/11)

We’re investing to ensure we’ve got the sales capacity [in Q4, specifically November]. And so we are not planning anything unique to lower prices to stimulate demand for the fourth quarter because we feel perfect about the market that we’ve got flowing into the business. So we don’t think we have to throw any, what I would call, abnormal levers to try to drive demand or conversion.

Purple Innovation (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/11)

I think everyone’s waiting to see exactly what the holiday is going to look like; something that we did see in Q3 is, I’d say, demand seems to be spread out a little more. The peaks of holiday tended to be a little less, and the customer demand appears to be more balanced, which we view as a perfect thing. But precisely what that looks like heading into Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We are prepared for it. However it goes, everyone seems to have gone a little promotional earlier this year, and we’ve joined in with that, partly driven by just challenges in fulfillment networks.

Wayfair (Q3 Earnings Call Transcript – 11/3)

Well, we introduced our Black Friday deals earlier than we did in past years. So we’ve already given a preview of Black Friday if you went back a couple of weeks ago.

We are talking — I think that — think of the messaging for the whole season being drawn out, and it’s not just us. We’re seeing all the major retailers do it, too. So we think from a consumer standpoint, they’re just going to be introduced to the holiday season at an earlier date, and we believe we will be able to expand the holiday season.

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