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Best Buy CEO Corie Barry: We are doing everything to avoid Black Friday crowds

Brian Sozzi
·2 min read

Retailers are leaving no stone unturned to prevent their stores from transforming into COVID-19 super-spreaders during the typical Black Friday spending bum’s rush.

That includes everything from keeping stores closed on Thanksgiving to spreading out Black Friday deals throughout November both online and at the store level. And in the case of Macy’s, no more Santa greeting kiddies at its stores.

Indeed this will make the holiday season feel a lot different to shoppers, but welcome to the new normal in retail where safety for workers and consumers is as important as ensuring the latest hot item is well-stocked and gets sold.

“I think what we're trying to avoid is the kind of natural response of lines at stores on Black Friday. That just can't happen,” Best Buy (BBY) CEO Corie Barry said at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit. While most retailers have yet to divulge their Black Friday operating plans in this pandemic-driven world, Best Buy and fellow Minnesota-based rival Target are taking the early leadership positions on shopper safety and crowd control.

A Best Buy employee tends to a customer outside a store in Montebello, California on April 15, 2020 as the electronics nationwide chain store remains closed to customers but open for pickups. - Best Buy said it will furlough about 51,000 employees as coronavirus-related sales surge ends. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
A Best Buy employee tends to a customer outside a store in Montebello, California on April 15, 2020. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Best Buy held a special two-day deals event online on Amazon Prime Day earlier this month. Barry says the next wave of holiday deals will hit at the end of October. The company is also emphasizing different shopping methods in its marketing such as buy online, pick up in store or pick up in parking lot. Same-day delivery options are also being ramped up — helped by 250 stores serving as shipping hubs.

“We have some of our employees doing deliveries. We’re literally trying to make sure we get the customer whatever they want on their terms,” Barry said, adding Best Buy will continue with its rigorous store cleaning protocols adopted during the pandemic as well as store capacity control. Masks will remain a requirement for in-store shopping.

Best Buy stores will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Added Barry, “We are trying to make sure the customer feels like they are in control. And then making sure whatever they choose, we deliver it as safely as possible.”

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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