NEW YORK (AP) — Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic.
Target CEO Brian Cornell announced the change in a letter to the retailer’s employees on Monday.
“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,” wrote the CEO to his workers. “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.”
To limit crowds in stores, retailers last year were forced to turn what had become a weekend shopping blitz into an extended event with holiday sales beginning as early as October.
That forced shift turned out to be a good move.
U.S. holiday sales in November and December rose 8.2% from the previous year, and the National Retail Federation predicts that this year could shatter that record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%.