Ho, Ho, Hum: Struggling Retailers Brace For A Muted Holiday Season
It’s only September, but Santa Claus is already nervous about coming to town. And he is not worried about whether kids are naughty or nice, as much as he is about the chance that taking photos with them on his lap at a local mall could expose him to the coronavirus. “Santas are concerned about catching it, especially considering they’re immunocompromised,” said Stephen Arnold, a Memphis resident and president of the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas, a trade group with nearly 2,300 members. “Almost all of us have diabetes and heart conditions and are overweight and elderly. Mr. Arnold’s Santas are not the only ones thinking about how different the holidays will be at malls and department stores this year. Thanksgiving, the traditional start of the holiday shopping calendar, is still more than two months away, but retailers pummeled by the coronavirus pandemic have already been making decisions about inventory, staffing, and how best to connect with customers skittish about visiting crowded stores during a pandemic. The result will be a 2020 season that is transformed in fundamental ways — and unlikely to make up for the severe drops in revenue caused by the shutdowns. Read more at The New York Times.