Mall Of America Is All For Family: Why They’re Closing On Thanksgiving

Mall of America is making a risky business decision. The nation’s largest mall announced that it has no plans to open up on Thanksgiving Day. Though its 520-plus stores have the option to remain open on the holiday, mall executives revealed to the Star Tribune that they want to keep the doors closed so workers can spend time with their families.

According to the newspaper, over 1,200 mall workers will get the holiday off, and if the other stores follow Mall of America’s lead, their employees will also not work on that day. However, a small number of security and maintenance workers will be on hand at the shopping center in the event some stores plan to open on Thanksgiving Day. According to WDay 6 News, West Acres revealed that many of its Thanksgiving workers volunteer. They receive extra pay and meals as an incentive for working on the holiday.

“We’ve been thinking about this for months, looking at the numbers, looking at the pros and the cons,” said Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing and business development. “We’re excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families.”

The decision will affect the 15,000 people who work at Mall of America. It is likely that some of the stores will open, and the annual Walk to End Hunger fundraiser will carry on, according to the newspaper. The mall will officially open its stores at 5 a.m. on the day after Thanksgiving, instead of staying open all night as it has in recent years. Executives also plan a special door opening ceremony, along with other special prizes, giveaways, and activities.

Black Friday has overshadowed Thanksgiving Day, but there are some major retail chains that refuse to open on the holiday. The growing list of stores that refused to open on Thanksgiving Day last year included Costco, DSW, Home Depot, Marshalls, Nordstrom, and T.J. Maxx stores, reports MarketWatch.

Mall of America
BLOOMINGTON, MN - DECEMBER 20: Thousands of protesters from the group "Black Lives Matter" disrupt holiday shoppers on December 20, 2014 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst for NPD Group, said he doubts that more retailers will rebel against opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day this year since many are still nervous about losing out to competitors on that night. However, the trend of refusing to open on Thanksgiving Day could play out in the next few years.

“Do I see the rest of the country doing it? No,” he said. “Do I see it going in that direction? A little bit. I think some stores may realize that it may be an expense they may not want to have, but they’re also afraid not to do it.”

He also noted that opening on Thanksgiving Day does not affect overall sales during the Black Friday and holiday shopping season. It just spreads out the sales and spending over more days throughout the weekend. In addition, many retailers have already started rolling out their “Black Friday deals” earlier in October and November, which has shifted attention away from one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Plus, the increasing popularity of online shopping has helped decrease the crowds and chaos inside brick-and-mortar stores.

Last year, several shopping malls in the Twin Cities area closed on Thanksgiving Day after seeing dwindling crowds late at night. They opened at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving, closed up at midnight, and then reopened their doors at 6 a.m. Friday. Best Buy in Richfield has closed its doors for a few hours between Thanksgiving and Black Friday over the past few years. But, no other shopping centers or stores other than outdoors retailer REI have decided to close their doors on Thanksgiving Day or Black Friday.

Let us know what you think. Do you think it’s good that the Mall of America refuses to open on Thanksgiving Day? Do you think the other stores in the mall will follow suit? Do you have plans to shop on Thanksgiving Day? Sound off below in the comments section.

[Featured Image by Jules Ameel/Getty Images]