A vicious second-wave of coronavirus pandemic is forcing retailers across the U.S to resort to stringent measures. Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) has started counting the number of customers that enter and exit its stores out of the abundance of caution. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) has also started implementing stringent measures in response to a spike in infections across the country.
In April, Walmart started restricting the number of people to its stores to 20%. The nation’s largest retailer eased the restrictions as the rate of infection edged lower in the preceding months. However, with things getting out hand in recent months, the retailer has had to go back to stringent measures.
The stringent measures are expected to take a toll on Black Friday sales as compared to yesteryears. Walmart has already confirmed that Black Friday deals will last for three weekends. Unlike in the past, the deals will be made available on the website before hitting stores a few days later.
Focus On Online Sales
Walmart pushing people to online for Black Friday deals does not come as a surprise. The move is part of the company’s ambitions to strengthen its e-commerce operations amid the pandemic. Likewise, it comes at a time when most people have resorted to doing shopping online and having items delivered at their households.
Pushing people to do shopping online should help Walmart curb the amount of traffic to brick and mortar stores, highly needed to prevent the further spread of the virus. Likewise, it should help strengthen the retailer’s curbside pickup option.
As the weather condition gets colder, more shoppers are increasingly stocking up for the winter season. More than 60% of shoppers are expected to stock up again as winter approaches. Likewise, some grocery chains led by Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) and Giant have already started reinstating purchase limits on some items. As was the case in the first wave of coronavirus, the retailers have placed curbs on toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes.
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