An early start to Black Friday shopping at Target won't be possible this Thanksgiving – or any Thanksgiving in the future for that matter. The retail chain announced Monday that it will not only be closed this Thanksgiving, but will make shuttering its stores on Thanksgiving Day a permanent tradition. The permanent move comes after Target closed stores last year on Thanksgiving due to the pandemic.
In a note to employees obtained by the Associated Press, Target CEO Brian Cornell said, "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." Cornell went on to share that employees "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 began opening its stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago, turning Black Friday sales into a weekend-long blitz that kicked off on Turkey Day. The decision, though, caused plenty of controversy from those believing employees deserved the chance to spend the holidays with their families rather than working long hours. However, with the pandemic came major shifts as retailers were forced to limit crowds in stores. As a result, many retailers opted to close their doors on Thanksgiving, with those Black Friday deals beginning as early as October and rolling out throughout November, a move that proved to be successful. According to The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, and as reported by CNBC, U.S. holiday sales in November and December 2020 rose 8.2% from the previous year. The group has predicted that this year could outshine last year's record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%
Target is not the only retailer shuttering its doors this Thanksgiving, with Walmart, Best Buy, and Home Depot all set to be closed. While none of those retailers have announced permanent Thanksgiving closures, some experts believe other retailers will follow Target's footsteps. Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, a retail research firm, questioned, "With all these online shopping opportunities, is it really necessary to open on Thanksgiving?" Perkins told the AP he believes retailers are also looking at whether it's worth spending money on labor and other costs to open on Thanksgiving. Stores set to remain open on Thanksgiving 2021 include Kroger, Whole Foods and Dollar Tree, among others.