Beginning this year, retail giant Target announced its stores will close during Thanksgiving day.
Despite the store closures, distribution and call centers will remain open on a limited basis. More importantly, Target said that its decision to close during Thanksgiving will apply not just this year but every year.
Target’s Stores To Close During Thanksgiving
Target’s new Thanksgiving policy didn’t affect the retail chain’s sales figures last year. Other retailers might pick up on this move and close during Thanksgiving as well.
Target started the trend last year when the pandemic limited the number of people who can shop at the same time.
Rather than implement a system to accommodate partial crowds, Target decided to close its store altogether for Thanksgiving. Instead, it asked its employees to enjoy the holiday and celebrate it at home.
In addition, retailers turned what was once a weekend event into a month-long promotion. Target and other retailers started offering holiday promos as early as October.
This shift gave households less urgency to go out during the Thanksgiving weekend.
Longer Holiday Promotions Paid Off For Retailers
As a result, US holiday sales in 2020 went up 8.2% compared to 2019 figures. This is according to figures shared by The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group.
The NRF foresees 2021 numbers to exceed last year’s numbers. It expects retail sales to rise between 8.5% and 10.5% this holiday season.
Many Americans seem to appreciate the fact that stores now offer promos over a longer time period. This relieves many households from rushing to stores in order to avail of special offers.
As a result, holiday shopping became less stressful. “What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said.
He added that the new arrangement validates Target’s “ability to deliver on our guests' holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours.”
Opening Stores During Thanksgiving
Target started its practice of opening stores on Thanksgiving over a decade ago. It joined other retailers in trying to get a leg up a day before Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
Most retailers had to open on Thanksgiving in order to compete with Amazon and other online retailers.
However, retailers soon learned that opening stores during Thanksgiving seemed to cannibalize Black Friday. In addition, many criticized big box stores for making their employees work on a holiday designed for families.
As a result, many states prohibited stores from opening during the November holiday. Other retailers such as Costco and Nordstrom also resisted the move and insisted on keeping their stores closed during Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Not Really A Big Day For Retail
Historically, Thanksgiving is not a big day for sales, not even cracking the top 10 shopping days in America. That’s because stores usually open in the late afternoon.
However, Thanksgiving promos over the web helped make it a big day for online sales. In terms of online sales, Thanksgiving only trailed Cyber Monday and Black Friday in retail sales.
Watch the CBS Los Angeles video reporting that retail chain Target to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving for good:
Do you shop during Thanksgiving day? Are you in favor of wanting stores to close during Thanksgiving? Or do you prefer them open so Americans can still shop for what they need?
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