Walmart joins Target in saying stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day

Walmart said Friday its stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, joining big-box rival Target in shutting its brick-and-mortar locations on the national holiday.

With the move, two of the country’s largest discounters are showing how the pandemic has permanently influenced the industry — even as Covid-19 cases drop and the health crisis wanes in the U.S. It will mark the second straight year in which Target’s and Walmart’s stores are closed on Thanksgiving. Target had announced its decision in January.

For many years, consumers kicked off their holiday shopping in earnest the day after Thanksgiving, which is also known as Black Friday. But until last year, some retailers had been shifting the kickoff of Black Friday events earlier.

Many retailers, including Best Buy and Lowe’s, adjusted the cadence of their holiday sales season last year. Companies started sales around Halloween, but closed stores on Thanksgiving Day and put more promotions online to try to tamp down on crowds that could contribute to the virus’ spread and show appreciation for frontline workers.

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Walmart announced the news about this year’s Thanksgiving to a group of store employees during its associate celebration meeting. That gathering typically coincides with Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, which was held virtually for the second year in a row.

Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith said in a news release that closing stores on the holiday “is one way we’re saying ‘thank you’ to our teams for their dedication and hard work this year.”

Walmart said it will share hours for Black Friday at later date.

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