Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7?

Discussion
Sources: Target
Sep 23, 2022

Christmas creep is dead. Retailers moving their holiday promotions up from Thanksgiving Day week is now just business as usual. It is for Target, which announced it is kicking off its holiday season push with its biggest ever “Deal Days” promotion running from October 6 (Thursday) to October 8.

The retailer said it would offer “hundreds of thousands of incredible deals” and that it would extend its holiday price match guarantee from the first day of the Deal Days promotion through December 24.

“The holidays are a treasured time when our guests come together with family and friends to celebrate the joy of the season, and we’re here to make that as easy as possible for them to enjoy,” Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer, Target, said in a statement. “That’s why we’re rolling out deals earlier than ever and ensuring our team is ready to help our guests shop when and how they want. Throughout the season, guests will discover new and differentiated items for gifting and gathering, including only-at-Target owned brands and must-have national brands, and they can expect great deals and everyday low prices at every turn for an unmatched holiday shopping experience.”

Target is supporting its holiday efforts with plans to add up to 100,000 seasonal workers to its payroll. It hired around 130,000 seasonal employees in 2021, CNBC reports.

The retailer, which fulfills more than 95 percent of its online orders, will put its new associates to work in stocking and organizing stores, packing and shipping online purchases, assisting customers in stores and handling pickup duties in-store and curbside (Drive Up).

The chain is counting on starting wages between $15 and $24, flexible scheduling, benefits and the prospects of work beyond the holidays to attract the best candidates. It expects that about 30 percent of those hired for the Christmas season will remain as employees beyond the holidays.

Target, it could be argued, is getting a late start on Christmas compared to Walmart. The retailing giant announced that it was kicking off its holiday promotions on October 1 and adding three “no concerns” return options including a January 31 cutoff for returns as well as curbside returns and return pick up of returns at the homes of its Walmart+ members.

Walmart plans to add 40,000 new workers for the season.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has the beginning of October replaced Thanksgiving Day week as retail’s start to the holiday season? What do you see as Target’s strengths and vulnerabilities heading into the 2022 holidays?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Given how ready consumers are to return to stores full force, I think the day of Black Friday, and the period surrounding it, will be more relevant than early October."
"Black Friday has been dead for awhile. Holiday shopping will occur whenever and wherever demand and supply intersect."
"With high inflation and difficult times, starting promotions early and setting out your stall is quite normal."

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24 Comments on "Did Target just move Black Friday up to October 7?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Walmart and Target are playing strong offense this holiday season, and the early start is indicative of this. Target is the winner when it comes to store fulfillment and curbside services, and I expect to see them be even stronger this year. Target is also one of the very best executing retail operators in the market. Between their strong private brands and their strong store-in-store offerings in cosmetics and toys, I expect them to lead the holiday season.

David Naumann
BrainTrust

Good points Mark! Walmart and Target are savvy retailer and fierce competitors. The holiday season has been starting earlier every year for the past five years and there is no end in sight. The early start benefits shoppers as they can spread their spending over more time and hopefully snag some bargains before prices go up due to inflation.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

Consumers are planning to start shopping earlier this year to spread out the cost of the holidays. Retailers are responding to this and to the fact that they are keen to get an early bite of spending in a market that may be more subdued. Of course, once one retailer starts the bandwagon, everyone else jumps on for the ride. This includes Amazon, which will likely run some kind of deal day in late October. Target is in a reasonable position with regard to sales this holiday, but profit is another matter: there is still a lot of inventory to clear down and they have to keep a lid on prices if they want to keep consumers impulse buying. Margins will be crimped.

Scott Norris
Guest

With still-unreliable ocean freight timetables (and continuing lockdowns in China), if you can get your inventory and put it on the shelf now, then do it and have more time to sell it at a reasonable margin. We might be seeing more threadbare shelves in mid-December but that means fewer markdowns later. For 35 years I’ve called this Norris’ First Law of Retail: “if you see it and like it, buy it because it won’t be there the next time you come to the store.”

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

The focus on “Black Friday” is misguided. The day after Thanksgiving will always be a huge shopping day. People are home, have had enough “family time” for a while, and are eager to get out and do something.

Moving holiday deals up earlier and earlier — we’re all looking for a little extra advantage. If consumers respond, it will happen. If they don’t, we might see those early deals move back closer to Christmas. And if the season shapes up to be disappointing this year, as I suspect it might, we’ll see retailers hit the promos in December and this whole conversation will be moot.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

I just don’t see super early holiday shopping happening this year. Given how ready consumers are to return to stores full force, I think the actual day of Black Friday, and the period more closely surrounding it, will be more relevant than early October.

Katie Thomas
BrainTrust

Agreed, Melissa – many consumers are simply not ready to start shopping until closer to the actual holidays. They’ll try to take advantage of good deals and maybe get a few things earlier, but shopping won’t ramp up until later in November.

Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I hate how far we are stretching our definition of “the season,” but have no reason to doubt Target’s strategy. They have been right so often and so consistently, I would guess this move will certainly have an impact on other retailers who have also witnessed their sound strategies over the past several years. I would not be surprised to see numerous copycat promotions in early October…

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Boom. From Thanksgiving to Halloween to the beginning of October. Can Labor Day be far behind? Black Friday has been more of a value driven marketing handle than a specific day for a while now. When we find out about an October Prime Day that should make it all official.

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

This year, more than any other year, FIRST DOLLAR CAPTURE is king in the race to sales. The push to hire a glut of more staff makes capture more important than ever. Let the games begin.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Exactly, let the games begin. The game will be a race to the bottom on margins and profits.

Jenn McMillen
BrainTrust

With so much media coverage about consumers starting holiday shopping early due to economic concerns, it looks like Target just wants to ensure they get their piece of the pie. There is no more holiday shopping kickoff. Thanks to Amazon and other retailers, it’s a year-round activity now.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Unless every single retailer on the planet gets together and decides to move Black Friday, it’s not going to happen. We can talk about this all day long, and strategize until our heads explode, but the simple fact of the matter is that consumers love Black Friday, and Black Friday happens on the day after Thanksgiving. Any other big sales are just a bonus.

Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

You could just as easily argue that Amazon Prime Days in July kick off the holidays — because there is no “start to the season” any more. Black Friday, in particular, has been less relevant for years (although still a big shopping day) because of retailers’ promotions throughout the month of November and now before Halloween. Likewise, promotions have become more intense during “Cyber Week” (formerly Cyber Monday) and in the weeks that follow.

Target and other major retailers are simply trying to meet consumers where they live today, not trying to foist an obsolete calendar on them.

Lisa Goller
BrainTrust

Yes, early October holiday sales have replaced late November events, benefiting retailers, brands and consumers.

Target’s focus on its people, pricing, promotions and private labels raise its retail power. Keeping on top of omnichannel fulfillment and availability will be key.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Although I like the traditional time when holiday shopping officially starts (Black Friday), Target’s strategies and effectiveness in the market are more right than not. So who am I to bluster about October being the start of holiday deals? And with inflation biting into consumers’ pocketbooks, perhaps a longer selling season may prove to be a brilliant move by Target.

Andrew Blatherwick
BrainTrust

This is just two major retailers gearing themselves up for what is going to be a tough holiday season. With high inflation and difficult times, starting promotions early and setting out your stall is quite normal. Target and Walmart have the strength to be able to set strong promotions and maintain momentum to Christmas. What is more encouraging is the number of new staff they are taking on. They are already known as leaders in service and this is emphasizing how important they see store staff as part of their total offering.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

Black Friday? Isn’t that the day retailers finally go in the black after eleven months of red? Oh, how things have changed.

Black Friday hasn’t been a single day in years. For years retailers have been making it earlier and earlier. October 7th might only be a week earlier than last year.

Retailers will keep fighting for the earlier dollar. If they spend it here, they can’t spend it there. But they seem to be oblivious that the holiday season dollars are finite.

Ten years ago in these discussions, we wrote that Black Friday wasn’t a day or a week as retailers were extending the holiday shopping season.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Black Friday will always be that day. It’s a day when most of us are with family and friends and this communal shopping is ingrained in our DNA. Attempting to shift buyers to shop early will require deep discounts and the inherent risks and margin hit if a retailer could have sold at full price. Risky business!

Rich Kizer
BrainTrust

Now that Target has the goods in position, the next step is to make sure they have the right people trained and ready to go. It would be a disaster to unlock the “Holiday Opening” doors and experience a failure, with staff not knowing what products are in this newly merchandised store.

storewanderer
Guest
9 days 10 hours ago

Have you walked their stores? The Christmas area is not even set in the ones I’ve been to this week. Halloween is barely set in one. There are no gift sets in sight. No Christmas candy, decor. The goods are not in position. But October 7 isn’t for a few weeks … they have time.

Richard J. George, Ph.D.
BrainTrust

Black Friday has been dead for awhile. Holiday shopping will occur whenever and wherever demand and supply intersect. Consumers, trying to cope with inflation, are looking for deals sooner rather than later. Retailers with full warehouses are trying to move inventory well before December.

Walmart’s “no concerns” returns initiative will blunt Target’s efforts here.

storewanderer
Guest
9 days 10 hours ago
Target is clearly desperate to get some sales, but customers are continuing to have budgets clipped due to ongoing price hikes. Target looks to be trying to get at people’s wallets before the big winter heating bills start coming and before the next round of 25% price hikes at the grocery store. Target has terrible service, messy stores, and in stock levels in my area and it has been this way going on a year plus now. Walmart has been setting Christmas the past 10 days. Target has no Christmas set. If you plan to make people shop for the holidays in early October, the first thing is to get Christmas set…. Strikes me as Target desperate to get sales. I expect Target to continue to struggle as the economy continues to struggle. They are not changing anything to push more essential goods but trying to be a store that people can easily “cut” as they run out of money. If the economy turns around so will Target. Their exposure to larger cities and focus… Read more »
David Biernbaum
BrainTrust

“Black Friday” will continue to be the year’s largest retail event, even if spread thinner by early and late starts a few days before and after. However, an event as early as October is a separate promotion that does not replace Black Friday. Target, and other retailers, will still have Black Friday when the time comes. Also, consider that most consumers are not purchasing for the holidays in October, regardless of sales.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Given how ready consumers are to return to stores full force, I think the day of Black Friday, and the period surrounding it, will be more relevant than early October."
"Black Friday has been dead for awhile. Holiday shopping will occur whenever and wherever demand and supply intersect."
"With high inflation and difficult times, starting promotions early and setting out your stall is quite normal."

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