NEW YORK — Target is joining Walmart in closing its stores on Thanksgiving Day, ending a decadelong tradition of jump-starting Black Friday door buster sales.
The move, announced Monday, comes as stores are rethinking this year’s Black Friday shopping bonanza weekend — along with other key retail days during the holiday season — as the country battles the coronavirus pandemic.
“Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Minneapolis-based Target said in a corporate blog posted. It said its holiday deals would come earlier than ever — starting in October.
Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, announced its move last week.
The move comes a few days after Walmart announced it would be doing the same and it signals a transformation in the way some big businesses are looking at the holiday season. If large crowds prompted a huge coronavirus outbreak on Black Friday, they believe, the ensuing losses if a store is forced to shut down would be worse than the losses caused by limiting customers in late November.
The decisions to close on Thanksgiving are welcome news to those who have criticized retailers for keeping workers away from their families on the holiday. Still, there remains a question of how retailers will attempt to balance the competing goals of protecting public health and encouraging shoppers to visit stores in the busy holiday season. (Neither Walmart nor Target commented on their Black Friday plans when AP reached out)
Best Buy on Wednesday said it’ll keep its store closed this Thanksgiving Day. The big box electronics retailer joins a growing list of companies, including Walmart and Target, that have decided to cut back their holiday hours in the face of the coronaviruspandemic this year.
“We can all agree that, so far, 2020 has turned out differently than what we might have expected,” reads a blog post from Best Buy. Although it doesn’t mention the coronavirus pandemic specifically, the post does indicate that Best Buy will continue to offer “more convenient pickup options” and will begin offering holiday sales earlier this year to give customers more time to shop.
This is good. Stores shouldn’t be open on Thanksgiving…or Christmas.
— Team CRUSH ✝️ 🇺🇸 (@NorCalCrush) July 28, 2020
Target to close on Thanksgiving!
I think this is a good idea. Workers should be able to be with family and friends.
What do you think?https://t.co/zrXr8g5JWI
— Justin Logan WAVE 3 (@jloganwxguy) July 27, 2020
Walmart is paying out a cash bonus of $300 for full-time hourly associates and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary associates, being paid out in August, also giving its hourly employees another round of cash bonuses. It’s also closing its stores on Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Nov. 26 this year.