Target CEO says decision to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving is because 'there’s no substitute for the real thing' on a family-centered holiday, such as Thanksgiving; company is also able to serve guests 'both within and well beyond store hours'

Sample article from our Retail & Omnichannel

November 8, 2023 (press release) –

As the holiday shopping season ramps up, Chair and CEO Brian Cornell reflects on the decision to close Target stores every Thanksgiving Day, and how we still deliver joy for our guests 24/7.

It’s hard to believe nearly four years have passed since we last opened our stores on Thanksgiving. Staying closed for the first time on Thanksgiving Day 2020 helped us take care of our team and guests during the pandemic. But once I heard from team members how much they appreciated that time with their families, it was an easy decision to make the policy permanent, and our store teams have had that time off ever since.

Retail teams tend to see the holidays as an energizing part of what we do. I know I and many others have happy memories of holidays spent in stores with our work families — and that sense of connectedness is something we definitely cultivate for our team. But we also know there’s no substitute for the real thing, especially on a family-centered holiday like Thanksgiving. Which is why it’s good to see other retailers coming around to the approach we’ve been following for years.

Keeping our stores closed on Thanksgiving is possible because we’ve built our team — and Target’s strong business model — to deliver on our guests’ holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours.

It’s our team members’ talent, resilience and commitment to Target’s joyful purpose that help us stay on top of our business’ changing needs year after year. Keeping our stores closed on Thanksgiving is possible because we’ve built our team — and Target’s strong business model — to deliver on our guests’ holiday wishes both within and well beyond store hours. We’ve found new ways to help guests get shopping done at their convenience, from season-long deals to fast-and-easy fulfillment options. And we do an exceptional job meeting the demand during the busiest weeks in November and December, when so many of our guests turn out to shop.

I’m grateful for the team’s dedication during the holidays and every day. And that’s a big reason why I’m confident that even though Target stores will be closed for Thanksgiving again, our guests won’t have to miss a beat of their Black Friday week shopping.

In this season of gratitude, I’m sending my warmest thanks to the entire Target team, and to you, our millions of guests and your families and friends, who make holiday shopping at Target a treasured tradition. In closing, I’ll share some reflections from our store team members, offering a little color on how they like to spend Thanksgiving with their families and communities.

Each year, my family spends the first part of Thanksgiving cooking two dinners — one for us and the other for the community. We play classic Motown music while we cook, clean and listen to the kids play. After our family eats, we pass out hot meals to those in need. It's a great way to show thanks, give back and spend time together.

Tea D. executive team leader, Minneapolis

My daughters and I open our house to anyone who wishes to join our Thanksgiving. Family, friends and neighbors come for a big meal of turkey, wings, cornbread, collard greens and mac and cheese. After dinner, we draw names for Secret Santa gifts, and we finish the day with homemade banana pudding.

Virgilia W. food service expert, Dallas

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