Target will shut down its stores on Thanksgiving Day — and will keep doing so every year.
“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,” Target chief executive Brian Cornell said in a note to employees.
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 to limit the number of people in stores during the pandemic. That forced shift during the holidays, however, turned out to be a good move.
U.S. holiday sales in November and December rose 8.2% in 2020 from the previous year, according to The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group. The trade group predicts that this year could shatter last year’s record, growing between 8.5% and 10.5%.
As The New York Times reports, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi will likewise close on Thanksgiving. However, opening stores on the holiday was once common practice.
Target began opening its stores on Thanksgiving a decade ago, joining other retailers in kicking off Black Friday sales a day early and creating a holiday rush after the turkey feast. Many did so to compete with Amazon.com and other rising online threats.
But the shift seemed to merely eat up sales on Black Friday. And big retailers also suffered some blowback, accused of forcing thousands of people to work on a family holiday.
Some stores and malls like the Mall of America in Minnesota ended the practice and remained closed on Thanksgiving. Some, like Costco and Nordstrom, never opened their doors during the holiday, saying they wanted to respect the holiday.
Ahead of the Christmas shopping season, Target has been hiking incentives and improving employee retention strategies to fight off labor shortages gripping many other American businesses.
Specifically, Target will pay an extra $2 per hour to staff who work every Saturday and Sunday from November 20 to December 19, as well as December 24 and 26. For employees working the supply chain, Target will offer an extra $2 per hour for two week periods worked from October 10 to December 18.
“The way we achieve our staffing goals is [to] retain the team we have,” said Target chief operating officer John Mulligan during an earnings call.
Despite high inflation, consumer-facing brands have been able to remain profitable by hiking prices. For instance, Tyson Foods — the second-largest meat and poultry producer in the United States — saw improved margins in their most recent quarter.
“The inflation we incur needs to be passed on,” said Tyson chief financial officer Stewart Glendinning. “Some of the inflation for us has been substantial.”
Meanwhile, Walmart bypassed the supply chain crisis by chartering its own ships — resulting in 11.5% higher inventory levels and earning the retail giant a 9.2% increase in sales between its third quarters in 2020 and 2021.
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