Shipping problems impacting Black Friday shopping in North Dakota

Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 7:27 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Last year, COVID-19 drastically impacted the biggest shopping day of the year. Going to the mall on Black Friday for bargains meant social distancing, sanitizing and masks.

This year, merchants have been thrown another curve ball by the pandemic: shipping problems.

Brooke Leno has owned and operated “Out of Town” for 10 years. So, she’s used to the Black Friday rush. Or-- thanks to COVID-- a lack there of.

“2020 we saw lower traffic numbers,” said Brooke Leno, Out of Town Owner. But this year, mall management says numbers should be back to around normal.

“For every holiday that we’ve had so far this year, we’ve been surpassing our numbers over last year and years before that. So, we’re expecting the same for Black Friday,” said Mikalah Auer, Kirkwood Mall Marketing Director. Leno says that’s great news. “I’m expecting 2021 to be just as busy as 2019 was,” said Leno.

But, there’s one problem: shipping delays. “We’re telling people get what you want now because a lot of that’s not going to be available. Shoes have been a huge problem. A lot of it’s just stuck at the ports. We’re going to end up getting these fall shoes in January, which is spring season,” said Leno.

So, Leno is rerouting by canceling orders and buying from new vendors with available stock.

“We’ve had to find things that are available versus the brands that we typically carry-- they’re not available. So, we’re just having to find replacements and get different things,” said Leno.

Leno says the good news is it’s giving her store an opportunity to offer new brands to customers. Kirkwood Marketing Director Mikalah Auer says the mall will still be cleaning high-touch points and offering sanitizing stations to keep customers safe.

This year, Kirkwood Mall will not be enforcing mask wearing as it’s following the guidance from the CDC and state government.

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