Dozens of Major Retailers Join Mall of America in Remaining Closed on Thanksgiving

[DIGEST: ABC, NBC]

The country’s largest shopping mall will be closed on Thanksgiving. Officials with Mall of America, which averages 42 million annual visitors and is anchored by such companies as Nordstrom, Sears and Best Buy, said the center wants to offer workers time with their families. “We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about,” said Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing. “We want to give this day back.” The mall will re-open at 5 AM the Friday after Thanksgiving, but the move could impact as many as 14,000 employees who work at the mall or one of its many tenants.

When asked if Mall of America will consider opening on Thanksgiving next year should sales suffer, Renslow said she believes business will remain consistent. Some of the mall’s tenants may choose to open for the holiday, and Renslow predicts holiday sales will still attract 400,000 shoppers. Mall security and maintenance workers will need to work if enough stores choose to open.

Many major retailers have opened their doors on Thanksgiving in recent years. While this grants shoppers the opportunity to take advantage of deep discounts, early store openings force hundreds of thousands of retail workers to spend Thanksgiving away from their friends and families. Early openings also pressure shoppers to cut festivities short and arrive at stores earlier to beat long lines and not to miss discounts. Mall of America is no exception: In 2012, the mall opened for the first time on Thanksgiving at midnight. The following year, it opened at 8 PM. In 2014 and 2015, the mall opened at 6 PM.

Facing national outcry, many national stores will give more family time to workers and shoppers. According to Best Black Friday, an ongoing list of retailers which will close on Thanksgiving includes:

  • A.C. Moore
  • American Girl
  • AT&T (Customer Service Closed; Select Retail Locations Closed)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bed Bath & Beyond (Select Locations)
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Burlington
  • Cabela’s (Retail closed; Call Centers Open)
  • Christmas Tree Shops (Select Locations)
  • Costco
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Dillard’s
  • GameStop
  • Gardner-White Furniture
  • Guitar Center
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Home Depot
  • HomeGoods
  • IKEA
  • Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
  • Lowe’s
  • Mall of America
  • Marshalls
  • Mattress Firm
  • Menards
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom (non-store employees working)
  • Outdoor Research
  • P.C. Richard & Son
  • Patagonia
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Publix
  • Raymour and Flanagan Furniture
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sierra Trading Post
  • Staples
  • The Container Store
  • T.J. Maxx
  • Tractor Supply
  • Von Maur

The move for stores to open increasingly earlier has drawn criticism from workers and business leaders. David Johnson, CEO of public relations agency Strategic Vision, believes that the protests from employees and others foster a hostile work environment. “It creates the public persona of these big corporations who just care about profit,” he says. “Thanksgiving used to be sacrosanct.”

Some critics argue that opening on Thanksgiving hurts store sales. In an op-ed for TIME, journalist Brad Tuttle wrote that retailers are opening on Thanksgiving “mainly for the same reason that kids often cite as the excuse for why they did something stupid: Everyone else is doing it. Macy’s and the rest of the mall stalwarts feel forced to open earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving because that’s what the competition is doing—and by not opening on Thanksgiving, a store is essentially conceding some chunk of sales to the competition.” Additionally, he notes, “there’s a good argument to be made that Thanksgiving store hours don’t actually boost a retailer’s overall holiday sales. Rather, sales on the holiday simply displace sales that would otherwise have been rung up on Black Friday or later in the season.”

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