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Target joins growing number of retailers that will be closed on Thanksgiving

There is a bit of good news for people tired of the commercialization of the holiday season. Target joined several other retailers in announcing it will not be open on Thanksgiving Day.

“What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard — one that recognizes our ability to deliver on our guests’ holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours,” Target CEO Brian Cornell told employees. “You don’t have to wonder whether this is the last Thanksgiving you’ll spend with family and friends for a while, because Thanksgiving store hours are one thing we won’t ‘get back to’ when the pandemic finally subsides.”

Target is the first major retailer to make such a permanent move during the pandemic, and its decision could push other retailers to follow in its path, says Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, a retail research firm. He believes retailers also are looking at whether it’s worth spending money on labor and other costs to open on Thanksgiving when shoppers are turning more to online shopping and away from physical stores. “With all these online shopping opportunities, is it really necessary to open on Thanksgiving?” Perkins asked.

Macy’s, which will not open its stores again for Thanksgiving this year, said its curbside pickup service will be available at select locations. Kohl’s and Walmart also will be closed on Thursday, but Walmart said it hasn’t made a decision yet on the future of Thanksgiving Day store shopping. Kohl’s declined to comment.

The holiday shopping season started to creep into Thanksgiving Day 20 years ago when retailers began kicking off sales in the wee hours of the morning on Black Friday. Ten years later, Target and other major stores opened their doors on the holiday itself, creating a new shopping tradition.

But the shift seemed merely to cannibalize Black Friday sales, with big crowds showing up for doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving. The shopping event was diluted further when stores began marketing Black Friday deals for the entire holiday week and then later for the entire month of November.

–Lee Hartman |Metro Voice