Target ( said Monday that it will close all of its stores on Thanksgiving every year from 2021 on. Target )closed stores last year on Thanksgiving due to the pandemic and had previously announced it will close this Thanksgiving too.
“What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard,” Target CEO Brian Cornell said in a note to employees. Cornell said he decided to make the policy permanent after visiting Target stores last week in New York and New Jersey, where workers told him they were glad they could stay home on Thanksgiving.
The pandemic pushed many other chains last year to close their doors on Thanksgiving last year, including Walmart (, )Best Buy ( and )Dick’s Sporting Goods (. These companies will again close on the holiday this year, although none have made permanent changes to their Thanksgiving policies going forward. )
Target’s announcement Monday was another sign of how the holiday shopping stretch in the United States has changed. While the holiday period used to be marked by a few big days, retailers in recent years have started their deals and events earlier and spread them out across the season— helping them avoid a crush of demand, which can strain their stores and delivery networks. This year, retailers moved up their deals earlier than ever to get in front of supply chain woes and limit empty shelves.
Thanksgiving closures have been a source of tension between retailers and labor advocates in the past, especially as many retailers in recent years have opened their doors on the holiday to get a jump on Black Friday.
Critics have argued that workers should be at home with their families on Thanksgiving instead.
Over the last several years, public pressure on retailers to close on Thanksgiving has faded. Workers’ rights groups have instead focused on 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. A California legislator proposed a law in 2016 that would have required some companies to pay employees double for working on Thanksgiving, but it did not pass.
Not all major retailers will close on Thanksgiving, however. Whole Foods, Kroger ( and )Dollar General (, among others, will stay open. )