It’s not uncommon for Americans to wait in long lines at stores in search for big discounts and deals on Thanksgiving Day. This year, however, some of the country’s largest shopping centers are eschewing the tradition as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend holiday customs — along with most other aspects of American life.
Today, the United States’ biggest mall owner, Simon Property Group, announced that it will keep its locations closed on Nov. 26. As of June 30, or the date it reported second-quarter financial results, the company owned or held an interest in 204 shopping centers in the United States, consisting of 99 malls, 69 Premium Outlets, 14 Mills, four lifestyle centers, as well as 18 other retail properties across 37 states and Puerto Rico.
“In these challenging times, we made the decision that we will not open on Thanksgiving Day, instead allowing our associates to spend the holiday with their loved ones,” chairman, president and CEO David Simon said in a statement.
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Simon’s properties will reopen to the public on Black Friday.
The announcement comes a month and a half after rival retail real estate owner CBL Properties revealed plans to close its buildings on Turkey Day. It will mark the fifth consecutive year that the Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company, which owns 108 malls across the country, shuts down its locations on the holiday. (Department stores and specialty retailers as well as restaurants and other dining establishments with exterior mall entrances have the option to stay open.)
As one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with getting a head start on holiday gifting ahead of the Black Friday rush. From athletic and outdoor chains like Dick’s Sporting Goods and department store Kohl’s to big-box giants Target and Walmart, an increasing number of nationwide chains have made the decision to dim their lights or give their employees that day off as the COVID-19 health crisis continues to threaten the holiday shopping season. Instead, some retailers are offering markdowns via online channels to encourage customers to do their shopping from the comfort of their own homes.