The moves hope to meet consumers where they're at as the pandemic forces changes.
Turkey being carved on a large platter

While the changing nature of Halloween amid a pandemic is still on many people's minds, the truth is that Thanksgiving isn't all that far away. Given the ways that the coronavirus pandemic has strained supply chains and changed consumer decision making, retailers will likely have to deviate from the Thanksgiving playbook that'd worked in years past. 

For Walmart, that will mean augmenting their turkey supply in an effort to cope with an increasing number of consumers who could be in the market for smaller birds this year. Based on Butterball survey data the retailer cited in a blog post, it's expected that 31% of folks will stick to celebrating Thanksgiving only with their immediate family, up significantly from 21% in a typical year. Subsequently, Walmart says it'll shift gears towards smaller turkeys, increasing their supplies of bone-in and boneless turkey breasts by 20 to 30% at Walmart locations across the country. 

In addition to shifting what consumers can buy to get ready for Thanksgiving, Walmart also expects the timing of shopping for the food-centric holiday will also change. Given what they learned from how folks shopped around Easter during the pandemic, Walmart is prepared for the possibility of people stocking up on their Thanksgiving essentials well ahead of time. Starting Monday, November 2, their low prices on turkeys will kick in, providing a significantly larger window of time to save for those who'd rather avoid the crowds later in the month. 

In a year when grocery shopping (for a time, at least) was marked by fears of infection and sudden food shortages, Walmart's moves fit in with similar steps taken by other retailers hoping to avoid a repeat of what we saw in the spring during the busy holiday season. Whether it all goes smoothly is, like so much about this crazy year, ultimately anyone's guess.