Target will no longer open on Thanksgiving Day, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the Pandemic.
Retailers were forced to turn a weekend shopping frenzy into an extended event last year to limit crowds in stores.
It appears that the forced shift was a lucky one.
The National Retail Federation says holiday sales rose 8.2% in 2020 from the previous year. The trade group predicts that the record could be broken in 2021.
Target said that Americans were able to get the same offers over a broader time period and were relieved from some of the stresses that go hand in hand with the holidays.
Target CEO Brian Cornell wrote in a note to employees that the new standard is one that recognizes Target's ability to deliver on its guests' holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours. Thanksgiving store hours are one thing we won't get back to when the Pandemic is over, so you don't have to wonder if this is the last Thanksgiving you'll spend with family and friends.
Ken Perkins, president of Retail Metrics, says that Target is the first major retailer to make such a permanent move during the Pandemic. Retailers are looking at whether it is worth spending money on labor and other costs to open on Thanksgiving when shoppers are more inclined to shop online and away from physical stores, according to him.
Is it really necessary to open on Thanksgiving? Perkins said something.
Macy's will not open its stores on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row, but it will offer curbside pickup at select locations. It noted that it hasn't announced future plans but that it leans into what its customers and colleagues tell it is important to them.
Walmart said it hasn't made a decision yet on the future of Thanksgiving Day store shopping, but it will be closed on Thursday.
Target said that they will have some staff on Thanksgiving, and they will get holiday pay.
20 years ago, retailers began opening their stores at night on Black Friday, when the holiday shopping season began. Target and other major stores opened their doors on the holiday itself ten years ago, creating a new shopping tradition.
Many did so to compete with online threats. According to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com, about 25 chain stores ushered in crowds at their physical stores on Thanksgiving five years ago.
The shift seemed to cannibalize Black Friday sale, with big crowds showing up for door buster deals on Thanksgiving. Stores began marketing Black Friday deals for the entire holiday week and then later for the entire month of November when the shopping event was diminished.
Critics said that thousands of people were forced to work during the holiday. The number of retail chains and malls stopped opening on Thanksgiving Day in recent years, as the crowd began to diminish. The number of stores open on the holiday was reduced to under 20 major chains, including pharmacy and grocery stores.
Some stores, like Costco and Nordstrom, didn't open their doors during the holiday because they wanted to respect the holiday.
Thanksgiving is not a big sales day because stores usually open at 5 p.m.
It has been a big online shopping day. Cyber Monday and Black Friday have dominated online sales for the past two years.