'Today, I'm making it official: we're going to keep our stores closed on future Thanksgivings too,' Target CEO Brian Cornell told employees.
Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, the company announced on Monday. Target closed stores last year on Thanksgiving due to the pandemic and had previously announced that it will keep them close this Thanksgiving too. "Today, I'm making it official: we're going to keep our stores closed on future Thanksgivings too," Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a note to employees reports PEOPLE. "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 will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic. https://t.co/K3v8RE2mn2 pic.twitter.com/RMhK5pPcXD— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) November 22, 2021
"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," he added. According to CNN, Cornell explained that he decided to make the policy permanent after visiting Target stores in New York and New Jersey last week, where workers told him they were glad to be able to enjoy the annual fall holiday with their loved ones at home. Last year, the pandemic pushed many other chains — including Walmart (WMT), Best Buy (BBY) and Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) — to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day.
Target CEO Brian Cornell said he decided to make the policy permanent after visiting stores last week in New York and New Jersey, where workers told him they were glad they could stay home on Thanksgiving. https://t.co/ZWo8C9vq2W— CNN (@CNN) November 22, 2021
While these companies have also decided to keep their stores closed on the holiday this year, none of them have made permanent changes to their Thanksgiving policies going forward. In an effort to limit crowds in stores, retailers in recent years have turned what had become a weekend shopping blitz into an extended event by starting their deals and events earlier and spreading them out across the season. This year, retailers moved up their deals earlier than ever before to avoid supply chain woes and limit empty shelves.
Target stores will close for Thanksgiving Day this year and every year moving forward, the retailer announced on Monday.— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 22, 2021
"What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard," said Target’s chief executive in a statement. https://t.co/Q0B0ZFIwxN
Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics a retail research firm, believes Target's decision to permanently close its store on Thanksgiving Day could push other retailers to follow in its path. Speaking to Associated Press, Perkins explained that retailers are also looking at whether it's worth spending money on labor and other costs to keep stores open on Thanksgiving when shoppers are increasingly turning to online shopping. "With all these online shopping opportunities, is it really necessary to open on Thanksgiving?" he said. Target reportedly first opened its stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago in order to compete with Amazon and other online retailers.
Target will keep its stores closed on Thanksgiving Day, permanently ending a tradition of opening its doors early for Black Friday shoppers. The move follows a shift last year, when retailers extended holiday sales to limit the number of people in stores. https://t.co/oEoYWMFlBS— The Associated Press (@AP) November 22, 2021
However, Thanksgiving closures became a source of tension between retailers and labor advocates with critics arguing that workers should be at home with their families on Thanksgiving instead. But public pressure on retailers to close on Thanksgiving somewhat faded in recent years as workers' rights groups focused on tackling broader issues such as the minimum wage, benefits and schedules. Some states — including Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island — have prohibited big-box stores from opening on Thanksgiving. In 2016, a California legislator proposed a law that would have required some companies to pay employees two times their pay for working on Thanksgiving. It did not pass.
Target announced that it will be permanently closed on #Thanksgiving moving forward so employees can spend time with their families 🦃🍂🦃— ABC 13 News - WSET (@ABC13News) November 22, 2021
Here's what's open & closed on Turkey Day: https://t.co/G555tZVL0p pic.twitter.com/vb3il9vouo
Some retailers — including the likes of Whole Foods, Kroger (KR) and Dollar General (DG) — will stay open on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Target said that even though its stores will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day, distribution and call centers will have some staff on duty, and they will collect holiday pay.