USA TODAY US Edition

Wal­mart re­vamps its Black Fri­day sea­son

- Kelly Tyko

Wal­mart is get­ting ready for a dif­fer­ent hol­i­day sea­son amid the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

The re­tailer an­nounced plans Wed­nes­day to meet the de­mands of in­creased on­line shop­ping, gift avail­abil­ity and how it is pre­par­ing stores for “safe shop­ping.”

Wal­mart is “promis­ing an all-new Black Fri­day ex­pe­ri­ence” and says it “will spread tra­di­tional Black Fri­day sav­ings through­out the sea­son,” with more deals avail­able on­line.

While Wal­mart says the sav­ings will start ear­lier than ever, the full de­tails on its Black Fri­day ex­pe­ri­ence weren’t un­veiled Wed­nes­day.

How­ever, the re­tailer said it was hir­ing 20,000 sea­sonal work­ers for its eCom­merce ful­fill­ment cen­ters, in­clud­ing or­der fillers and power equip­ment op­er­a­tors.

The tem­po­rary po­si­tions are posted at www.wal­mart­ca­reers.com/fcjobs and can also be ap­plied for by tex­ting FC to 240240.

Greg Smith, Wal­mart’s U.S. ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of sup­ply chain, said in a news re­lease that as more shop­pers “turn to on­line shop­ping, we want to en­sure we’re staffed and ready to help de­liver that spe­cial gift to their loved ones while con­tin­u­ing to ful­fill our cus­tomer’s ev­ery­day needs.”

The start­ing hourly rate for the sea­sonal jobs will range from $15.75 to $23.75 based on lo­ca­tion, po­si­tion and sched­ule.

Over the past six months, Wal­mart says it has hired more than 500,000 new em­ploy­ees across the com­pany “to en­sure the re­tailer could pro­vide es­sen­tial items to cus­tomers dur­ing the COVID-19 pan­demic.”

Dif­fer­ent hol­i­day sea­son, dif­fer­ent gifts

Wal­mart hinted at the dif­fer­ent hol­i­day sea­son in July, when it an­nounced stores would be closed on Thanks­giv­ing for the first time since the late 1980s.

Home De­pot, Tar­get and Best Buy have said they will start of­fer­ing deals for the hol­i­day sea­son ear­lier to re­duce crowds and to spread out de­mand amid COVID-19.

Scott McCall, Wal­mart’s U.S. ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and chief mer­chan­dis­ing of­fi­cer, said in the re­lease that cus­tomers have been shop­ping dif­fer­ently over the past six months.

That is ex­pected to con­tinue into the hol­i­day sea­son.

“We’ve heard from our cus­tomers that many plan on start­ing their hol­i­day shop­ping well be­fore Black

Fri­day, and that they’re look­ing for gifts that fit their cur­rent life­style,” McCall said. “So, we’ve ad­justed our strat­egy to adapt to these new shop­ping pref­er­ences – we’re of­fer­ing more of what they want now, ear­lier than ever, and all at the best prices.”

The re­tailer is “in­creas­ing avail­abil­ity of un­ex­pected hol­i­day gifts that re­flect life­styles in this ‘new nor­mal,’ in­clud­ing ath­leisure, loungewear and sleep­wear for the fam­ily, out­door grills, bi­cy­cles and ex­er­cise equip­ment and out­door sport­ing equip­ment.”

Wal­mart says it has also in­creased in­ven­tory of tra­di­tional gifts, in­clud­ing elec­tron­ics with a “fo­cus on TVs, lap­tops and video games” and will have over 1,300 new toys .

There also will be a larger as­sort­ment of sup­ply of pet prod­ucts and Wal­mart says it’s “ready to sell over 3 mil­lion comfy pet beds.”

“We’ve heard that many plan on start­ing their hol­i­day shop­ping well be­fore Black Fri­day.” Scott McCall, Wal­mart’s chief mer­chan­dis­ing of­fi­cer

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Shop­pers have been shop­ping dif­fer­ently since the out­break of the coro­n­avirus.
GETTY IMAGES Shop­pers have been shop­ping dif­fer­ently since the out­break of the coro­n­avirus.

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