Target has joined Walmart in announcing that all of its U.S. stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, CNBC News reported. The retailer is instead asking its customers to get a head start on the holiday shopping season by hitting the shelves in October.
In a statement posted on its corporate blog, Target.com, the big-box retailer noted that holiday shopping tends to bring large crowds, and with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, "this isn't a year for crowds."
"This year more than ever, a joyful holiday will be inseparable from a safe one, and we're continuing to adjust our plans to deliver ease, value and the joy of the season in a way that only Target can," said CEO Brian Cornell, telling associates to enjoy the day of pumpkin pie and perhaps a long nap afterward.
Cornell also noted that the programs the company has enacted since the pandemic began have enabled customers to get their shopping done while limiting the amount of time they spend in the building and, potentially, within close range of employees and other shoppers. Those include delivery and curbside pickup and then, later, expanding those options to include fresh and frozen groceries.
Though the day after Thanksgiving -- often referred to as "Black Friday" -- is traditionally the start of the holiday shopping season, Target won't be following the trend this year. Instead, the company will begin offering seasonal discounts as early as October.
"Our biggest holiday deals will be available earlier than ever, so you can shop safely and conveniently without worrying about missing out on deals that usually come later in the season," the corporation said, noting that special holiday pricing will be in effect before and after November 26.
The blog post notes that those deals will be available both inside the stores and online.
Target joins another big-box retailer, Walmart, in shutting down its U.S. outlets for the traditional fall holiday. Last week, as reported by The Inquisitr, the Arkansas-based company announced that its associates have endured a "trying year," and as such, giving them the holiday off was the right thing to do. Walmart also cited anticipated big holiday crowds in the time of the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for closing on that day.
Meanwhile, Black Friday has crept into Thanksgiving Day, with retailers opening up on midnight following Turkey Day or even on that day itself, requiring employees to work on what would traditionally be a time spent with loved ones.