A new normal: Target joins stores in closing on Thanksgiving Day for good

Minneapolis, Minnesota – Target will no longer open its doors on Thanksgiving Day, the company announced on Monday. It joins a slew of retailers for whom coronavirus has changed the way they're doing holiday business – and most shoppers and employees agree it's for the better.

Shoppers at the Target store in New York City's Herald Square.
Shoppers at the Target store in New York City's Herald Square.  © imago/Levine-Roberts

The move to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day moving forward comes one year after many retailers, including Target, were forced to close during the holiday last year as the Covid-19 pandemic raged on.

In the US, Thanksgiving Day has almost become synonymous with Black Friday shopping. Over the last decade, Target and other retail stores began opening their doors for Black Friday shopping one day early.

Though Black Friday is technically just one day – the Friday following Thanksgiving – many retailers opt to open their doors on Thanksgiving Day to offer first-come, first-serve savings for those who are willing to fight the crowds.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic reshaped what Black Friday shopping looks like in an effort to encourage customers to stay home and stop the spread. Given Target's latest announcement, It seems those changes will be permanent.

"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 letter to employees, according to USA Today.

In exchange for closing their doors on Thanksgiving Day in 2020, Target and many other retailers opted to extend Black Friday sales online, with some starting as early as October.

A new normal for Target

Target is one of the US' largest retail chains.
Target is one of the US' largest retail chains.  © imago/Levine-Roberts

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Target was one of several retailers who faced heat in regard to opening its stores on a family-oriented national holiday such as Thanksgiving.

One of the main arguments against doing so stemmed from the idea that workers might feel forced to come into work on a day they should naturally have off to spend with their loved ones.

CNET reported that in the letter he sent out to employees, Cornell indicated that this pandemic-driven change was here to stay.

"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," Cornell said.

In lieu of being open Thanksgiving Day, shoppers are welcome to browse Black Friday deals on Target's website, which are available through Saturday.

Fellow retail giants Walmart, Sam's Club, and Trader Joe's will also be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Most US-based Target locations will re-open at 7 AM local time on Black Friday.

Cover photo: imago/Levine-Roberts

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