Pandemic fears, online deals thin U.S. Black Friday crowds

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Masked shoppers turned up in smaller numbers at major U.S. retailers including Macy’s Inc, Walmart Inc and Best Buy Co Inc on Black Friday as early online deals and worry about the spike in COVID-19 cases dulled enthusiasm for trips to the mall.

Retailers overhauled the traditionally busy shopping day that comes the day after Thanksgiving. Walmart opened stores at 5 a.m. on Friday, directing shoppers to turn right upon entering and proceed along main aisles to shop deals before paying at registers surrounded by plastic barriers.

Best Buy opened at 5 a.m., employing workers in can’t miss orange vests to serve as traffic cops. Others offered temperature checks and “grab-and-go” merchandise, including toys, bikes and kitchen appliances to discourage lingering in store aisles. Reuters News

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