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Target Commits to Remaining Closed On This and All Future Thanksgivings

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Target will close all its stores on Thanksgiving from now on, according to multiple media reports. The retailer closed on Thanksgiving 2020 and previously announced its intent to close this year, but the shift to annual closures is a new policy.

“What started as a temporary measure driven by the pandemic is now our new standard,” said Brian Cornell, CEO of Target in a note to employees seen by CNBC and other outlets. He reportedly made the decision after visiting stores in New York and New Jersey where associates mentioned that they were glad to have a day off on Thanksgiving. Target distribution and call centers will remain staffed.

This may be the right time for Target to end the practice of opening on Thanksgiving. While holiday shopper participation during the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday period remains very high, it has been on the decline: 71% of consumers plan to shop this year, compared to 74% in 2020 and 79% in 2019, according to Deloitte.

Additionally, ecommerce shopping has become the norm on Thanksgiving. Smartphones generated 49% of Thanksgiving period ecommerce traffic in 2018, peaking at 68% on Thanksgiving day, as shoppers chose to browse from the comfort of their homes rather than fight the crowds. The pandemic has only made digital shopping more appealing to many consumers.

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Additionally, many consumers started their shopping earlier in the season this year — and 63% of holiday shoppers report that they have already experienced stockouts, according to Deloitte. As a result, 70% said they started shopping before the end of October compared to 66% last year and 61% in 2019.

Target may be unique in its commitment to Thanksgiving day closures, but other retailers will close for this year at least: Walmart, Kohl’s, Best Buy and Macy’s, among others, have already announced plans to keep their stores shut, and Simon Property Group is closing down its malls for the day.

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