Target to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving for good

Dive Brief:

  • In a letter to Target workers, CEO Brian Cornell announced that Target stores will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day moving forward, according to an excerpt emailed to Retail Dive.

  • What was initially a temporary measure has now become permanent. Target was one of the retailers that closed stores on Thanksgiving back in 2020 due to the pandemic and, in January, Target said it would do the same this year.

  • Cornell said the decision came after visiting several stores and hearing how the team was thankful to have stores closed on Thanksgiving. "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."

Dive Insight:

For Target, keeping stores closed on Thanksgiving is a pandemic-driven measure that will stick around in the years to come.

"We've found new ways to help guests get holiday deals earlier than ever in the season, and we do an exceptional job meeting the demand that comes during the peak weeks when so many of our guests turn out to shop," Cornell said in the letter. "So today, I'm making it official: we're going to keep our stores closed on future Thanksgivings too."

Ahead of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Target has already begun holding sales events early, even launching its new Holiday Price Match Guarantee to allow shoppers to request price adjustments if an item they purchased goes on sale.

This year, several retailers announced that they're staying closed on Thanksgiving. Walmart, Best Buy, Simon Malls and REI have also announced that they're shutting down stores this year. Some retailers, such as Walgreens and Big Lots, chose to stay open.

Closing stores the day before the busiest shopping event in the country doesn't come without risks.

A recent analysis of Walmart, Target and Best Buy's performance during the week of Black Friday last year, when they were closed on Thanksgiving, indicates that their sales decreased, according to Bloomberg Second Measure. Target sales on Thanksgiving week decreased 2% year over year, Walmart was down 24%, Best Buy was down 12%.