Superstore Target will stay closed this year for Thanksgiving, as retailers across the country re-imagine what their holiday shopping blitz could look like in the age of COVID-19.
Target now joins Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, which announced last week that they will not open on Thanksgiving.
Preventing a Shopping Stampede
Thanksgiving typically marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season in America. In recent years, so-called “Black Friday” has practically become a holiday in its own right. But big box stores like Walmart and Target have gradually made the launch of Black Friday earlier and earlier, opening stores at 3 AM the Friday after Thanksgiving or even on Thanksgiving night itself.
Still, Black Friday often causes pandemonium, as eager shoppers wait in long lines for doors to open, before elbowing their way in to grab the best deals. Amid the ongoing pandemic, however, this massive mob of shoppers may not be plausible come November.
Then there’s the question of workers’ rights. Those employees called into stores late on Thanksgiving night or before dawn the following morning, have long criticized the ritual. Labor advocates have long argued that these workers ought to be able enjoy the holiday with their families and not have to go into work to manage stampedes of anxious shoppers. The new move by Target and Walmart should give these employees at least a little relief.
Longer Shopping Season
Target also revealed plans on Monday to extend its Christmas shopping season by beginning holiday promotions in October. The company hopes that by giving shoppers a longer period of time to take advantage of deals, they can prevent huge hordes of customers just before the holidays.
“Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Target said in a statement.
Meanwhile, struggling department store chain Macy’s is considering starting its Black Friday deals as early as Halloween. The extension will also give customers more time to order items online and await delivery.