the new york times/ap Since the pandemic, Target has moved the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season to the day after Thanksgiving.
Last year, retailers were compelled to extend a weekend shopping frenzy into a month-long event with steep holiday discounts beginning in October in order to reduce crowds in stores.
During November and December of this year, U.S. holiday sales grew 8.2 percent from the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group. Between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent growth is expected for the year 2021, according to the trade association.
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This year’s holiday season has been less stressful for consumers because of Target’s new policy, which has also resonated with workers, according to the retailer.
As a result of the pandemic, “what started as a temporary measure has become our new standard—one that honors our capacity to deliver on our guests’ holiday desires both within and far beyond shop hours,” Target CEO Brian Cornell stated in a letter to staff. Because Thanksgiving store hours are one thing we won’t “get back to” when the pandemic eventually declines, you don’t have to worry about if this Thanksgiving is the last one you’ll spend with your family and friends for a while.
If more retailers follow Target’s lead, the pandemic will have a ripple effect, according to Ken Perkins, president of retail research firm Retail Metrics. When it comes to the opening on Thanksgiving, he says, merchants are weighing the benefits of doing so against the rising costs of labor and other expenses.
There will be a limited number of Macy’s locations where a curbside pickup will be available on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. “We lean into what our customers, as well as colleagues, tell us is essential to them on these decisions,” the company said in a statement.
Both Kohl’s and Walmart will be closed on Thanksgiving Day as well, but Walmart said it hasn’t made a decision on whether or not it will continue to allow customers to shop on that day.
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Employees working at Target distribution and call centers will be eligible for holiday compensation, according to the retailer.
It wasn’t until the early hours of the morning on Black Friday 20 years ago that the holiday shopping season began creeping into Thanksgiving. For the first time in ten years, Target and other big retailers opened their doors on Thanksgiving Day, creating a new tradition of shopping.
Because of Amazon and other online threats, many people took action. According to Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with DealNews.com, about 25 chain businesses drew crowds at their physical locations on Thanksgiving five years ago.
This change seemed to just deplete Black Friday sales, with large crowds flocking to doorbuster deals on Thanksgiving. Stores began advertising Black Friday specials for the whole holiday week and subsequently for the entire month of November, significantly diluting the shopping experience.
Critics said that thousands of individuals were compelled to work instead of spending time with family during the holiday season because of the actions of large businesses. In recent years, Thanksgiving Day crowds began to thin down as well, and a number of retail brands and malls, notably the Mall of America in Minnesota, ceased the practice. This reduced the number of businesses operating on vacation to fewer than 20, excluding pharmacies and supermarkets, which are usually open for at least a few hours.
As a way to honor the holiday, certain stores like Costco and Nordstrom did not open their doors.
Stores typically opened around 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving, making it one of the least popular shopping days of the year.
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It was a very busy day for online purchases, however. According to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index, the holiday’s online sales have lagged behind just Cyber Monday and Black Friday for the past two years.
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