All the rage these past five years in retail: having stores open for business on Thanksgiving.
Walmart has left its doors opened all day on Thanksgiving (although Black Friday deals didn’t kick in until the evening). Best Buy has welcomed long lines of shoppers starting at 5 p.m. Target has seen big crowds at its early Thanksgiving opening. And then there is the nearly dead J.C. Penney, which for the past few years has opened its stores earlier to lure in deal seekers (last year at 2 p.m.).
Kmart for many years was the king of Thanksgiving openings — it swung open its doors at 7 a.m. for more than 20 years straight. That’s not happening this year as Kmart is basically out of business after years of god awful management.
But with retail workers near burnout amid a sizable increase in tasks during the COVID-19 pandemic — and people fearful of catching the disease via large crowds — major chains have rethought being open on Thanksgiving. To that, we say good move to the early adopters — and now look for others in the space to jump aboard the train.
Here are several retailers saying they will be closed this Thanksgiving.
The world’s largest retailer got things going on July 21, saying it will close its stores on Thanksgiving. It also disclosed $428 million in new bonuses for full-time and part-time workers.
“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” said Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
The cheap chic retailer quickly followed in the footsteps of Walmart by announcing on July 27 it will close for Thanksgiving.
Said Target CEO Brian Cornell, “The investments we’ve made in our business and our incredible team have enabled us to move with flexibility and speed to meet guests’ changing needs during this global pandemic. This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we’re continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season in a way that only Target can.”
In mid-June, Target said it would permanently raise its starting wage for its store, distribution and headquarter employees to $15 an hour. That kicked in on July 5.
Not to be outdone by a fellow Minnesotan, Best Buy said 24 hours after Target’s disclosure that it will also close on Thanksgiving.
“We can all agree that, so far, 2020 has turned out differently than what we might have expected. And now, the holiday season at Best Buy, including Thanksgiving Day, is going to look different, too. To meet our customers’ changing lives this holiday, we’re enhancing the way we fulfill orders, from offering more convenient pick-up options at our stores, to making sure BestBuy.com orders arrive at the right time. We’re also going to start offering some of the hottest deals of the season earlier than ever, to make it even easier for our customers to check off their gift lists. With these changes, we’ve also decided to close our stores on Thanksgiving Day. As always, customers will still be able to shop on BestBuy.com and via the Best Buy app,” Best Buy said in a blog post.
And last but not least (for now), off-mall retailer Kohl’s said on July 29 it will not open its doors on Thanksgiving.
“The holiday season is when Kohl’s shines brightest, and as we move into the holiday season of this very unusual year, we are adapting our plans in response to changing customer expectations and behaviors,” said Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass. We are deeply appreciative of how our team of Kohl’s associates have shown up to serve our customers through this pandemic and know that they will continue to show Kohl's at our best throughout the holidays.”