Target will be closing their doors for every Thanksgiving Day from now on, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic.
Last year to lessen the crowds in stores, retailers were forced to turn the holiday weekend shopping blitz into an extended event, with big holiday discounts beginning as early as October.
That forced shift appears to have been unanticipated.
U.S. holiday sales last November and December rose 8.2% in 2020 from the previous year, according to The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group. The trade group predicts 2021 could shatter that record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%.
Americans embraced the change since it took so much stress off of holiday shopping, which has also resonated with workers, Target 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,” Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to 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 are also 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 said.
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