Black Friday holiday sales start earlier every year with many retail stores opening on Thanksgiving night to give shoppers a head start.
Well, finally, we can point to a positive change resulting from the pandemic. Austin-based coupon consolidator RetailMeNot compiled a list of two dozen national retailers that do not plan to open on Thanksgiving day, mostly in response to a lack of demand. RetailMeNot survey results suggest 88% of shoppers do not plan to do in-store shopping for Black Friday deals.
Not surprisingly, it was Walmart that started the trend of opening before Black Friday. But it was also the mega big-box retailer that first made the call to close its 4,000 U.S. stores—including seven in Austin—on Thanksgiving this year.
Here are the other national businesses keeping doors closed on Turkey Day 2020 (Nov. 26 this year):
- Academy Sports + Outdoors
- Bath & Body Works
- Bed Bath & Beyond
- Best Buy
- Dick's Sporting Goods
- Foot Locker
- The Home Depot
- Lamps Plus
- Office Depot/OfficeMax
- Simon Property Group
- The Outlet Resource Group
However, many stores are still opening for Black Friday in-person sales—but not as many as usual. RetailMeNot compiled a list of national shops that have confirmed plans for the biggest shopping day of the year. Many business chains are letting local stores make the call based on COVID-19 spread in their respective area.
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Designs for stations along Project Connect’s Blue Line were presented this week, giving a detailed look at what part of the rail system extending from downtown to the airport could look like.
The planned stations that have gotten the latest focus include Waterfront, Travis Heights and Lakeshore stations past Lady Bird Lake.
At the Waterfront station, the preliminary design aims to prevent visual obstructions and save on costs. This is accomplished by a transit guideway that will lower from the bridge to a level station.
Heading onto East Riverside Drive, the light rail faces a curve requiring a slow down to about 10 miles per hour.
The Travis Heights station could involve relocating a pedestrian crosswalk zone at Alameda Drive to Blunn Creek. Since light rails can't effectively operate on a steep grade, this allows the transit guideway to avoid that.
From there, the rail will extend to the Norwood Park area, and though it will reach along the right-of-way zone, the park will be able to remain open.
A view of the Blue Line by Lady Bird Lake. (Project Connect)
The line involves some coordination with the Texas Department of Transportation. That's because the department is working on an intersection that will have to be built before the phasing of the section of the Blue Line involving an I-35 crossing.
When it comes to the safety of cyclists and walkers, design ideas include a pedestrian hybrid beacon by East Bouldin Creek that would provide a protected signal to cross. And for the intersection TxDOT is carrying out, Project Connect is working with them on pedestrian access across the intersection. It could involve shared use paths along the street and crossings beneath it.
This summer, the public can expect 30% of design and cost estimates to be released. Though the project was $7.1 billion when voters approved it in November 2020, the latest estimates factoring in inflation and supply chain constraints show it could ultimately be upwards of $10 billion.
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Plans for an Amazon warehouse in Round Rock—a $250 million project slated to be a large distribution center—are on hold.
This comes just after the tech giant had its worst financial quarter in seven years.
- Late last year, it announced an expansion at the Domain adding 2,000 more corporate and tech jobs.
- Amazon still owns the site in Round Rock. Plans for it are unclear.
- Early this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is aiming to scrap warehouse space as it faces a slowdown in its e-commerce operations.
Part of that effort involves exploring the possibility of ending or renegotiating leases with outside warehouse owners. Another aspect is a plan to sublease warehouse space.
“It allows us to relieve the financial obligations associated with an existing building that no longer meets our needs,” an Amazon spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal. “Subleasing is something many established corporations do to help manage their real estate portfolio.”
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