Target will keep stores closed on Thanksgiving for good

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  • Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making a permanent change to the unofficial start of the holiday season that has been suspended during the pandemic.
  • Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees, “What started out as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard – one that allows our guests’ holiday wishes to be met within store hours and well. Recognizes our ability to deliver.”
  • Target distribution and call centers will have some employees on Thanksgiving Day, Target said Monday, but stores will remain closed.

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Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making a permanent change to the unofficial start of the holiday season that has been suspended during the pandemic.

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Last year retailers were forced to turn what would become a weekend shopping blitz into an extended event, with holiday sales beginning in October to limit the number of people in stores during the pandemic.

However, doing forced shifts during the holidays proved to be a good move.

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US holiday sales in November and December grew 8.2% in 2020 compared to the previous year, according to The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group. The trade group estimates that this year could break the previous year’s record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%.

Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees, “What started out as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard – one that allows our guests’ holiday wishes to be met within store hours and well. Recognizes our ability to deliver.”

The new standard at Target, on very healthy sales last year, could inspire other retailers to follow its path.

Target distribution and call centers will have some employees on Thanksgiving Day, Target said Monday, but stores will remain closed.

Target began opening its stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago, joining other retailers in launching Black Friday sales the day before and creating the holiday crowd after the turkey feast. Many did so to compete with Amazon.com and other growing online threats.

But it looked like this change would eliminate Black Friday sales only. And large retailers also suffered some setbacks, accusing them of forcing thousands to work on family leave.

Some stores and malls, such as the Mall of America in Minnesota, have abolished the practice and remain closed on Thanksgiving. Some, like Costco and Nordstrom never open their doors during the holiday, saying they want to honor the holiday.

Thanksgiving historically wasn’t a big sales day, not one of the top 10, as stores usually open their doors around 5 p.m. However, it’s been a big online sales day. Last year, the holiday was behind only Cyber ​​Monday and Black Friday in online sales, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

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