An October Prime Day Opens a Remade Holiday Shopping Calendar

Retailers want the holiday buying season to hit full speed in October as they brace for a sluggish and unpredictable end to the shopping year.

The coronavirus pandemic upended the retail industry, closing some stores for months, spurring bankruptcies, moving shopping online and changing what consumers buy. Those forces, on top of a looming election, are shaking up what is traditionally the biggest sales period of the year.

Walmart Inc.,


WMT 1.00%

Target Corp.


TGT 1.14%

and

Amazon.


AMZN 3.01%

com Inc., as well as smaller specialty retailers, are starting online holiday deals this week, instead of their usual launch in November. Retailers want to reduce crowding in stores, lighten what is likely to be a crushing load on the e-commerce supply chain, and lock in sales early to hedge against political and economic uncertainty, according to industry executives.

“We’re kicking off holiday deals earlier than usual,” said Cindy

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