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Black Friday might soon become Cyber Friday at this rate.
Over the past several years, many major retailers have been opening their doors for holiday shopping earlier and earlier on Black Friday—to the point where these stores have launched mega weekend sales starting on Thanksgiving Day itself.
But like with everything else since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that is going to change this year. Big-box stores—including Walmart and Target—started announcing in July that their brick-and-mortar locations will not be open on Thanksgiving Day. Stores typically become extremely crowded during holiday sales events, with chaotic scenes and tensions running high even without a public health crisis going on. Keeping these frenzied events safe under current social distancing guidelines would prove near impossible.
While there could be a transition to bring these bargain offers online (similar to Amazon rolling out special deals over the course of the month of November), this move could have huge repercussions for retailers, which are already suffering amid the economic crisis and count heavily on the holiday-quarter sales. Opening on Thanksgiving Day has become part of the playbook to jump-start Black Friday sales and the rest of the holiday shopping season through Dec. 25. Many of the online-only sales have been reserved for the following Monday, now known as “Cyber Monday,” but shoppers still looking to get special deals could be looking at a whole cyber weekend instead.
Below is a running list of retailers altering their Thanksgiving holiday weekend opening hours. This list will continue to be updated through Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 26, 2020.
Walmart, the largest U.S. retailer, said on July 21 that it would be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year to thank employees for their hard work during the pandemic, which has given Walmart a big sales boost. The last time Walmart closed on Thanksgiving was in the late 1980s. The company says it will release more details regarding its Black Friday plans at a future date.
Target followed suit on July 27, announcing that all of its stores would be closed on Nov. 26. Instead, the retailer is moving many of its promotions for big-ticket items online as early as October. Target is also making 20,000 more products—including fresh and frozen groceries—available via pickup and delivery services at 1,500 locations across the country by this fall.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Dick’s Sporting Goods also announced on July 27 that it will close all store locations and distribution centers on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, 2020. This closure includes specialty stores Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream. In previous years, most Dick’s Sporting Goods stores were open with limited evening hours on Thanksgiving, the company said in a statement. All Dick’s Sporting Goods locations will follow standard business hours on Wed., Nov. 25. Information on holiday hours, which begin Fri., Nov. 27, will be shared at a later date. The company also noted store and distribution center teammates will continue to receive a 15% pay premium through the end of the year.
Kohl’s announced on July 29 that it would keep stores closed on Thanksgiving Day 2020—not only out of safety and convenience, but also because the retailer expects more customers to shop earlier and online more frequently. Kohl’s also said it would provide more information on its holiday hours at a later date.
Best Buy also said in late July that it will be closed on Thanksgiving, promising promotional deals will roll out online earlier than November 26. The electronics seller also said it would be “enhancing the way we fulfill orders,” from offering more convenient pickup options to better ensuring BestBuy.com orders arrive at the right time.
JCPenney announced on August 3 that it made the decision to close our stores this Thanksgiving. In the meantime, for customers who do choose to shop in stores before and after the holiday, JCPenney says it has implemented a number of safety precautions, such as requiring face coverings and providing hand sanitizer for customers and associates, diligently cleaning stores with a focus on high-touch areas, and installing plexiglass at open registers in all stores. JCP also has contactless curbside pickup available at select locations.
A representative for Foot Locker told Fortune on August 10 that all Foot Locker, Inc. stores will also be closed on Thanksgiving this year.
For the first time in the brand’s 36-year history, all Forever 21 stores are closing for Thanksgiving day. The fashion retailer will reopen doors on Black Friday, November 27.
More must-read retail coverage from Fortune:
- What Starbucks learned about COVID-19 from its China stores
- Pop-up retail was made for the pandemic
- Walmart will be closed on Thanksgiving for first time in decades
- Chipotle to hire 10,000 more workers as it expands mobile-order drive-thru
- Malls are dying, but Nordstrom has no intention of being dragged down with them