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Black Friday’s Surprise Vanishing Act

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Illustration: Ada Amer/Axios

The easiest way to find Black Friday deals is disappearing before our very eyes: The sale circulars that once filled the Thanksgiving Day paper are becoming a relic.

Big picture: The circulars have been a mainstay for holiday shoppers, but retailers are phasing them out, so discounts may change with inventory.

  • COVID has turned Black Friday sales from a few days off to weeks off and pushed more offers online.

why it matters: It’s hard to find out what’s on sale and plan your shopping.

🗞️ In the past We may browse paper or digital advertisements.

  • now they are gone From Best Buy and Walmart. So customers have to go through websites and categories and products.

🛍️ Where have they been: Large circulars from Target, Kohl’s and JCPenney have been posted online. Lowe’s, The Home Depot, and Macy’s have circulars in some kiosks.

Yes but: Now that retailers offer more holiday deals online than in-store, the move to digital makes sense.

  • It doesn’t just happen around Black Friday. Retailwire reported in March that stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Target and Dick’s Sporting Goods were cutting weekly print ads.

hurry: For decades, the sales circular has been the way retailers promote their discounts, but it has to be planned weeks and more than a month in advance.

  • “We have too many financiers to operate on pricing,” Lauren Hobart, CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, said at an investor conference in March, where she previously said she was a “blunt tool in the paper.”
Black Friday coupons scarce

🗞️ Zoom out: Coupons in general are dying out, so it’s no surprise that there were fewer Black Friday coupons in the Thanksgiving paper.

  • Retailers have coupons to scan in the app and codes to use online.
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Thanksgiving Day Newsletter were also in short supply as media companies in some parts of the country closed presses for holiday editions.

  • Washington Post Reached Thursday morning in Arlington, Virginia, including ads from Kohl’s, Macy’s, Home Depot and Lowe’s, Axios’ Mike Allen reports.
  • The (Raleigh) News and Observer They all had Belk, Dollar General and a few others with them.
  • the sun watch Home Depot, Lowe’s, Rooms to Go, Macy’s, Beals and Beals Outlet, as well as a Publix supermarket circular had opened sales in South Florida as of Friday.

some newspapers Charge even more for the Thanksgiving paper that was known as the “biggest paper of the year” – aka a boatload of Black Friday ads that they were paid to bring to you. (Today’s post is $5; N&O is $5.99.)

review: In 2014, the Orlando Sentinel said the Thanksgiving version weighed about five pounds.

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