The formula for retailers on Black Friday is usually pretty simple: Cut prices, stock shelves, prepare for crowds and make sure orders arrive on time. This year — like everything in 2020 — it’s anything but.
America’s biggest apparel retailers and department stores are anxious ahead of the crucial holiday period. That’s because all the new tools they’ve hastily rolled out and scaled up amid the global pandemic, like in-store and curbside pickup and direct shipping from stores, haven’t really been battle-tested. So if they fail, an already disastrous year could get that much worse.
“These companies are used to somewhat regular patterns,” said David Silverman, a retail analyst at Fitch Ratings Inc. “All of that has gone out of the window.”