America’s largest mall is taking a stand.
Bloomington, Minn.-based Mall of America will buck an industry-wide trend and, for the first time since 2012, remain closed during Thanksgiving.
Black Friday has long been the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, but in a bid to grab a larger share of consumers’ wallets, retailers have gradually pushed back their hours of operation to encroach on the family-centric Thanksgiving holiday.
Mall of America’s management is looking to change that.
“In years past, we’ve all rallied together to answer the call for 24/7 shopper access that the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend brings,” said Mall of America EVP Rich Hoge and SVP of marketing Jill Renslow in a letter to employees. “However, it also meant that team members may not have been able to share the day with family and friends. That is why this year we have made the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day so that team members can put that energy where it matters most: into making memories with the people they care about most.”
Mall of America will reopen at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving.
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The mall’s decision — which puts it in the ranks of retailers such as REI that have also pushed back against the commercialization of traditional family holidays — could impact its nearly 15,000 employees and 570 tenants, including stores and restaurants. But management said that it would accommodate some mall tenants should they still choose to open ahead of Black Friday.
While the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend has long been one of retail’s biggest shopping catalysts, the introduction of Cyber Monday — and a dramatic consumer shift to online shopping in general — have taken a toll on brick-and-mortar traffic. Whether a decrease in store traffic contributed to the mall’s decision is uncertain, but Mall of America’s decision could inspire other large retail destinations to follow suit.