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‘Super Saturday’ set to lure last-minute shoppers in U.S. despite Omicron surge By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Holiday shoppers search for offers on the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

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By Arriana McLymore and Richa Naidu

NEW YORK/CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. retailers opened their doorways on Saturday to what they hope might be swarms of shoppers trying to find last-minute vacation items, despite surging circumstances of the coronavirus, together with the brand new, highly-contagious Omicron variant.

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The final Saturday earlier than Christmas – dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ – is often one of many busiest purchasing days of the yr, marked by a rush to purchase last-minutes items to tuck below the Christmas tree.

The dangers to shoppers this yr, nonetheless, should not simply that merchandise may be out of inventory, but in addition that in-person purchasing may set off extra coronavirus infections – making Super Saturday a super-spreader occasion.

Toy retailer proprietor Katherine Nguyen says she anticipates extra folks to store in particular person at her three Chicago-area areas in contrast to the final Saturday earlier than Christmas 2020, and even the final Saturday earlier than the pre-pandemic Christmas of 2019.

“It’s like the brand new variant is the brand new regular – the atmosphere has gotten a little bit used to that,” she stated.

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Foot-traffic monitoring agency Placer.ai stated it expects extra folks to go to shops this weekend than on the identical weekend final yr. Sensormatic Solutions, an information agency that measures retailer visits, cited an almost 48% improve in foot visitors on the Friday after Thanksgiving in contrast to a yr earlier as an indication that individuals would need to store in-person.

A provide chain logjam https://www.reuters.com/enterprise/us-companies-keep-prices-high-supply-chain-headaches-persist-2021-10-27 has left many individuals additionally feeling nervous about not getting merchandise ordered on-line in time for the Dec. 25 vacation.

“Consumers have been bombarded with messages concerning the impression of provide shortages on the provision of vacation items,” stated David Berson, chief economist at Nationwide in Columbus, Ohio.

Nguyen stated her three shops by no means acquired shipments of merchandise for about 15% of their toy catalog. The toys, she says, are “sitting on a container in Long Beach, California, outdoors of the water ready to come in.”

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FedEx (NYSE:) and the U.S. Postal Service set Dec. 15 because the deadline for floor deliveries to attain properties in time for Christmas, which implies that shoppers nonetheless in search of items might have little selection however to store in shops if they need to keep away from charges for expedited delivery.

FedEx and rival United Parcel Service (NYSE:) every say they’ve employed sufficient employees to handle the vacation peak, when the variety of every day packages they deal with simply doubles. 

Unlike final yr, many customers heeded recommendation from retailers to store early – easing stress on carriers by spreading demand over an extended time frame. But on-line shoppers may even see extra delays as Christmas approaches, in accordance to Cathy Morrow Roberson, president of consultancy Logistics Trends & Insights.

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