Walmart announced on Tuesday it will close all of its stores on Thanksgiving this year. The move shocked retail analysts who point to a trend in recent years in which Black Friday encroached upon the holiday. Sam’s Club locations will also be shut down on Nov. 26.
“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,” John Furner, president of Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
Stores will operate as normal the day before Thanksgiving but will have run on adjusted schedules the day after, which is also known as Black Friday.
Information for hours for Nov. 27 will be shared at a later date.
Many large chains remain open on Thanksgiving. A large percentage of Christmas shopping is done on Thanksgiving or Black Friday with the following Monday known as CyberMonday.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing some companies to rethink normal operations, as some states, cities, and counties hold restrictions to try to keep the case count low even as the death rate has plummeted to below the rate for the regular flu.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told analysts on July 1 that the chain was looking to shift more Black Friday business online.
“We have a very strong game plan about how we’re going to keep this trend of digital going,” Gennette said during a conference call. “But when you think about Black Friday, if you think about the 10 days before Christmas, what does that mean in terms of traffic if people are nervous about gathering with crowds? Everything is on the table right now.”
Macy’s plans to release full details for the major shopping day in September.
Walmart also announced a cash bonus for workers.
Full-time, hourly associates will receive $300 while part-time workers will receive $150. Some other workers will also receive a bonus, which was not specified.
Walmart says the payout will add up to approximately $428 million.
“Our associates have been working at an incredible pace, they’ve solved problems, and they’ve set an amazing example for others,” Furner said. “To further appreciate their incredible work, we are pleased to share another special cash bonus this summer.”
Walmart employees some 1.5 million in the United States. Walmart has over 4,700 stores in the country. The company’s revenue for the previous fiscal year was $524 billion.