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Kohl's joins growing list of retailers closing on Thanksgiving Day

There will be no Thanksgiving Day shopping inside Kohl's stores this year.

Kohl's has announced it will close its stores on Thanksgiving day in 2020 as part of its plans reflecting "a year like no other."

Over the past two weeks, a handful of other major retailers said their stores would also be closing on Thanksgiving including Best Buy, Target and Walmart. 

As part of its announcement, Kohl's said it expects more customers to shop earlier and throughout the season, given the importance of safety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. In 2019, Kohl's opened its stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to kick-off Black Friday shopping. 

Kohl's said it plans to offer more information on its holiday hours at a later date. 

“The holiday season is when Kohl’s shines brightest, and as we move into the holiday season of this very unusual year, we are adapting our plans in response to changing customer expectations and behaviors,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s chief executive officer. “We are deeply appreciative of how our team of Kohl’s associates have shown up to serve our customers through this pandemic and know that they will continue to show Kohl's at our best throughout the holidays.”

With fears of a wave of virus cases in the fall, the biggest nightmare would be if retailers had to close down again during the most critical time of the year, analysts said.

Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
In this Aug. 8, 2011 photo, shoppers enter and exit the Kohl's store in San Rafael, Calif. Kohl’s Corp.

“Historically, deal hunting and holiday shopping can mean crowded events, and this isn’t a year for crowds,” Minneapolis-based Target said in a corporate blog post about its Thanksgiving Day plans earlier this week. It said its holiday deals would come earlier than ever — starting in October.

Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, announced its move last week.

Target opened for the first time on Thanksgiving in 2011, joining other stores in starting Black Friday sales a day early and creating a new tradition of shoppers heading out to the stores after their turkey feast. Many retailers did so because they were trying to better compete with Amazon and other online players.

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But sales ended up eating into Black Friday and many critics lambasted stores for not honoring the holiday and allowing their workers to spend it with family. In response to the backlash and also poor sales, some stores and malls like Bloomington, Minnesota-based Mall of America, reversed course and have not to opened on Thanksgiving in recent years. Costco and Nordstrom among others have always remained closed on Thanksgiving, noting they want to respect the holiday.

The bigger question still looms on how to handle Black Friday itself, which also draws huge crowds — and sales. Despite competition from Thanksgiving shopping, Black Friday ranks as either the top or No. 2 sales day of the year.

Thanksgiving is not even in the top 10 because sales start around 5 p.m. But the day ranked third in online shopping behind Cyber Monday and Black Friday respectively last year, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online sales for 80 of the top 100 retailers.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.