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Walmart to close its U.S. stores on Thanksgiving again

by The Associated Press | June 4, 2021 at 3:06 p.m.
FILE - In this Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, file photo, signage is pictured at a Walmart store in Oklahoma City.

NEW YORK — Walmart will close its U.S. stores on Thanksgiving for the second consecutive year.

The nation's largest retailer and biggest private employer said Friday that it wants to give workers time off for all their "hard work and dedication" to the company.

"Closing our stores on Thanksgiving Day is one way we're saying 'thank you' to our team," wrote Dacona Smith, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart U.S., in a corporate blog.

The move shows how the pandemic will have lasting effects on the retail industry's strategies even as the health virus ebbs. For almost a decade, Black Friday store shopping had been kicked off with big crowds on the turkey feast and expanded into Friday. However, last year given safety concerns, most stores were closed on turkey day. Walmart, like other stores, successfully pushed more sales online to reduce crowds in the store. But, even as safety protocols relax, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer apparently believes that not having the kickoff on Thanksgiving won't hurt its business.

Given Walmart's clout as the nation's largest retailer, other major retailers will likely follow its lead again this year.

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