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Target will never be open on Thanksgiving again: 'Our new standard'

'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 never be open on Thanksgiving again: 'Our new standard'
Cover Image Source: A sign hangs outside of a Target store on January 13, 2021, in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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."


"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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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