Walmart said it will close all of its stores on Thanksgiving Day — a big pivot from its usual practice of kicking off Black Friday doorbuster sales during the storied US holiday.
This year’s closures, which will fall on Nov. 26, will affect all of the company’s Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, the company said in a Tuesday statement.
“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart US, said in a statement. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
Last year, Walmart opened its doors at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving. But critics say the Turkey Day hours have siphoned away sales from Black Friday and put added stress on workers.
In a Tuesday memo to employees, Furner said the idea to close on Thanksgiving came from Kevin Carlyle, a store supervisor in Round Rock, Texas.
“He recently wrote us and suggested that we close for Thanksgiving during this unusual year, so that our associates could spend the day with their families,” Furner said.
Nationwide, the coronavirus pandemic has meant that workers at Walmart and countless other reopened retail stores have had to wear masks during their shifts and struggle with extra tasks like disinfecting public areas.
The discounting giant also announced on Tuesday that it would spend an extra $428 million on bonuses this year to compensate its US employees for grappling with crowds and carrying out extra duties amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Full-time hourly employees will get a $300 bonus, while part-time and temporary employees will receive $150. Drivers, managers and assistant managers will also get monetary rewards, according to the company.
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