Black Friday 2020: Thanksgiving Day Store Closings, Retailer Ads, And Deals To Expect

It’s been an incredibly strange and brutal year, but somehow, it’s already October, and the busy holiday shopping season is now upon us. In the United States, Black Friday is known as the best time of year to save money on big-ticket items, to cross all those names off your shopping list and splurge for yourself a little (or a lot) too. But with COVID-19 still a very real threat in the US, Black Friday 2020 is going to look much different from previous years.

Fortunately, Black Friday has been developing a strong online presence for years now. With companies like Amazon proving that huge online sales like Prime Day can be a major success, retailers have slowly been offering more noteworthy Black Friday deals online over the years, and this year will be no exception. In fact, with retailers looking to avoid mass crowds that normally push into stores on Black Friday, there’s even greater incentive to make sure the best deals are also available online–and earlier.

So what has been confirmed so far regarding retailers’ plans for Black Friday 2020? Here’s what we know right now about Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday shopping this year.

Many stores are closing on Thanksgiving Day

Walmart led the charge in announcing all Walmart and Sam’s Club locations will be closed on Thanksgiving Day (November 26), breaking a decade-long tradition in which Black Friday offers would be available in-store as early as Thanksgiving evening. Soon after, Target, Best Buy, and GameStop announced they would be closing their doors on Thanksgiving as well.

While certainly the best decision to allow employees more time with their families and to avoid huge crowds in stores on Thanksgiving, this is a major change to the typical rhythm of Black Friday, as we’re used to seeing some of the best doorbuster deals kick off on Thanksgiving Day. As a result, we expect to see some great online-only doorbusters this Thanksgiving and an overall shift in the deals schedule.

You can check out more of the major retailers who have confirmed they’re closing their doors on Thanksgiving this year below. Of course, some stores traditionally close on Thanksgiving Day every year, such as Apple and Costco, and it’s likely they’ll remain closed this year as well.

Confirmed store closings for Thanksgiving Day 2020

  • Walmart / Sam’s Club
  • Target
  • Best Buy
  • GameStop
  • Kohl’s
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods
  • TJ Maxx
  • JCPenney
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Office Depot

Black Friday deals are going to start earlier this year

To avoid the massive rush of people visiting stores in mid to late November, Black Friday-level deals will start rolling out much earlier this year to space out the promotions. Target has confirmed its first Black Friday deals will start November 1, with “Black Friday pricing” available throughout the entire month. Meanwhile, Best Buy released its first batch of Black Friday deals during Amazon Prime Day, and the store is still offering Black Friday prices online now. GameStop and Walmart have both pledged to offer deals earlier than usual as well. And with Prime Day in the rearview mirror, Amazon has already moved on with its “Holiday Dash” sale, which is offering steep discounts in the leadup to Black Friday weekend.

Though it may seem strange, this is a natural progression of the way Black Friday has been unfolding in recent years. Black Friday ads usually start to leak in late October, and some retailers have designated the entire month of November as a major deals period in the past. Gone are the days when Black Friday stuck to a single week–the frenzy has been expanding for several years now, so it’s no huge surprise that those promotions are kicking off in October or early November at some stores as part of an overall holiday push.

That said, it’s safe to assume many Black Friday offers will still center around the week of Thanksgiving, with the bulk of the deals kicking off between November 22 and November 30. This year, however, you won’t have to push through any crowds to get the best offers, as retailers will likely avoid in-store exclusives.

Black Friday 2020 retailer ads

So far, just a couple of retailers have released their Black Friday 2020 ads, but we expect to see more come out in the next week or two, considering that many Black Friday deals will start the first week of November. As of right now, Walmart and Dell have released their Black Friday ads, and Best Buy pulled deals from its Black Friday ad to offer during Prime Day.

  • Walmart Black Friday ad: Walmart has not just one, but multiple Black Friday ads this year, as it plans to release Black Friday deals in multiple batches. The first round of online deals go live on November 4, with in-store deals starting November 7.
  • Best Buy Black Friday deals: Best Buy kicked off its Black Friday sale during Prime Day 2020, offering dozens of deals straight from its not-yet-released Black Friday ad. More Black Friday deals and the full Black Friday ad are coming later this month.
  • Dell Black Friday ad: Dell released its Black Friday ad and kicked off its sale on the same day, offering a great chance to save big on laptops and gaming PCs right now.

Best Black Friday gaming deals to expect

This is a unique year in many ways, including the fact that next-generation consoles, the Xbox Series X and PS5, are launching this November. That said, don’t expect to see any Black Friday discounts on these next-gen consoles. The PS4 and Xbox One will likely still feature in Black Friday ads this year, but we may not see as many great console bundles as we’ve seen in years past (like the excellent Only on PlayStation PS4 bundle for $200 from last year) as Sony and Microsoft shift the focus onto their new consoles. The Xbox One X and All-Digital Edition have already been discontinued, so expect any Xbox console deals beyond the regular Xbox One S to be extremely limited based on whatever they have left in stock. We didn’t see any console deals during Prime Day, so it’s doubtful we’ll see anything particularly notable during Black Friday.

Nintendo isn’t launching a console this year, but the Nintendo Switch has remained incredibly popular and has even been hard to find in stock for most of this year due to increased demand during the pandemic. While we’re starting to see Switch stock stabilize, we don’t expect any official discounts on the console from Nintendo this year, but you can sometimes find discounts on the Switch via online marketplaces like Google Shopping and Ebay during Black Friday. If we do see Switch bundles, let’s hope they’re more impressive than last year’s bundle, which featured the older model Switch without improved battery life.

Gaming subscriptions like PlayStation Plus and especially Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will likely feature more heavily in Black Friday deals this year as these services are continuing with next-gen consoles. Of course, you’ll also find all-time low prices on games from recent years, including those from earlier this year and summer, so Black Friday will be a great time to add to your backlog.

You can check out some of last year’s most popular Black Friday gaming deals below to get a sense of what deals may be available this year.

Black Friday 2019’s best gaming deals

  • PS4 Slim “Only on PlayStation bundle with God of War, Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition, and The Last of Us Remastered — $200
  • PS4 Pro with Call of Duty: Modern Warfare — $300
  • PlayStation VR Mega Pack with five games — $200
  • PlayStation Plus 12-month membership — $36
  • Xbox One X bundle with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Deluxe Edition and three months of Xbox Live Gold — $350
  • Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons — $60
  • Nintendo Switch Online 12-month subscription — $15
  • First-party Switch games — $30

This will likely be the biggest year yet for online holiday shopping, and we’ll just have to wait and see what type of gaming, tech, and entertainment deals are up for grabs this Black Friday. Of course, we’ll be covering all the best deals on games, accessories, consoles, and more here at GameSpot, so keep checking back as we update this story with more information. Be sure to follow GameSpot Deals on Twitter for the hottest discounts, including lightning deals that will sell out fast during Prime Day and Black Friday, and sign up for our deals newsletter to keep up with the latest sales below.

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