Marking a break from tradition, Walmart is set to close its doors on Thanksgiving this year.
The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said today that it will close all U.S.-based Walmart outposts on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26. Sam’s Club locations will also be shut for the day, as they have in previous years.
“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,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner said in a release. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
As of April 2020, Walmart operated over 5,350 retail units in the U.S., making it the nation’s largest retailer by store count. The big-box chain will operate regular hours on Wednesday, Nov. 25 and will reveal store hours for Black Friday, Nov. 27, at a later date.
Walmart typically operates with normal store hours on Thanksgiving Day and keeps portions of its store roped off until Black Friday deals begin later in the day. Last year, Black Friday sales kicked off at 6 p.m. These sales tend to draw big crowds into (and outside) the retailer’s outposts.
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In addition to revealing its plans to close on Thanksgiving, Walmart announced today it expects to award roughly $428 million in cash bonuses, with full-time hourly associates at its stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers to receive $300 and part-time and temporary employees to get $150. So far this year, the company said it has provided $1.1 billion in bonuses.
Due to its status as an essential retailer, Walmart continued to operate throughout the coronavirus pandemic, even as certain states and localities ordered so-called “nonessential” retailers to shut their doors. As customers stocked up on household supplies and other items during government-mandated lockdowns, Walmart ramped up its hiring efforts in mid-March, adding tens of thousands of workers to its ranks.
The public health crisis helped lead Walmart to a better-than-expected quarter. In May, the company posted a 10% increase in same-store sales, driven by strength in food, health and wellness products and other general merchandise categories. The retailer recorded adjusted earnings per share of $1.18, with revenues jumping 8.6% to $134.62 billion — beating Wall Street’s estimates of $1.17 EPS and $130.31 billion in sales.
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