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Stores close on Thanksgiving, but thousands of retail workers are still working

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Target (TGT) said on Monday it would now close all of its stores on Thanksgiving, a move that could prompt competitors to follow suit and make Thanksgiving store shopping obsolete.
In 2020, many other chains closed stores for Thanksgiving for the first time, including Walmart (WMT), Best buy (BBY) and Dick’s Sporting Goods (DKS). These companies will be closing their stores again during the holidays this year, although none have made permanent changes to their Thanksgiving policies in the future.
Some companies, such as Costco (COST) and Home deposit (HD), have closed stores on Thanksgiving for years.

That doesn’t mean shops and warehouses will be completely empty on Thursday. Black Friday is fast approaching and retailers need workers to prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year.

A small percentage of Target’s workforce, such as supply chain and service center employees, will still be working on Thanksgiving, a company spokesperson said.

Target said it has worked with employees to understand their schedule preferences at the start of the season, and employees who work on Thanksgiving will receive additional pay. Most Target stores will reopen at 7 a.m. local time on Black Friday.

How to Find Lower Prices and Avoid Empty Shelves During the Holiday Shopping Rush

Staying open on Thanksgiving had been a source of tension between retailers and labor rights activists in the past, especially as many retailers opened during the holidays to try and jump on Black Friday.

Labor rights activists have argued that workers should instead be home with their families for Thanksgiving.

In recent years, public pressure on retailers to close on Thanksgiving Day has faded. Rather, workers’ rights groups have focused on broader issues such as minimum wages, benefits and hours.

Some states, including Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island, have banned big box stores from opening on Thanksgiving Day. A California lawmaker proposed a law in 2016 that would have required some companies to pay double their employees to work on Thanksgiving, but it was not passed.

Why the Thanksgiving shutdown won’t hurt retailers

The holiday period used to be marked by a few key days, with Black Friday being the most important. Stores used the opportunity to accumulate most of their holiday sales. But with the growth of online shopping, retailers are no longer relying so much on vacations to drive sales.

Retailers also don’t want everyone to buy at the same time. So in recent years they have started their offerings and events earlier and spread them out throughout the season avoiding a demand crash which can put a strain on their stores and delivery networks.

This year, stores have increased their offerings earlier than ever to address supply chain issues and limit empty shelves.

The extended shopping season means stores can close on Thanksgiving Day without too much of an impact on sales.

Staying open on Thanksgiving may not make a lot of business sense That is. Some retailers have found that keeping stores open during the holidays takes away sales on Black Friday and long weekends.

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