Target will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving forever
New York Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making a permanent shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season suspended during the pandemic.
Retailers last year had to turn what had become the start of weekend shopping into an extended event with holiday sales starting early in October to limit the number of people in stores during the pandemic.
However, this forced shift during the holidays turned out to be a good move.
US holiday sales in November and December were up 8.2% in 2020 from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail group. The trade group expects this year may break last year’s record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%.
“What started as a temporary pandemic-driven measure is now our new standard — the standard that recognizes our ability to cater to our holiday guests within and outside of store hours,” Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees.
Target’s new standard, combined with very good sales last year, may prompt other retailers to follow its lead.
Target distribution and call centers will have some employees on Thanksgiving Day, Target said Monday, but that stores will remain closed.
Target started opening its Thanksgiving stores a decade ago, joining other retailers in kick-starting Black Friday sales the day before and creating a holiday rush after Turkey. Many did so to compete with Amazon.com and other growing online threats.
But it looks like this shift was just sales-eating on Black Friday. Major retailers have also suffered some setbacks, accused of forcing thousands of people to work on a family holiday.
Some stores and malls such as the Mall of America in Minnesota have ended the practice and remain closed on Thanksgiving. Some, like Costco and Nordstrom, never opened their doors during the holiday, saying they wanted to honor the holiday.
Historically, Thanksgiving was not a big day for sales in general, nor was it one of the top 10 days, because stores usually open their doors around 5 p.m., however, it was a big day for online sales. Last year, the holiday came after Cyber Monday and Black Friday in online sales, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
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