Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) supercenters were open 24 hours a day. Nearly all of the giant stores have been open for about half that many hours since mid-March.
Beginning Monday, August 17, about 4,000 of the company’s 4,700 U.S. stores will remain open for an extra 90 minutes, until 10:00 p.m. local time.
The company announced the change in a Friday morning tweet, saying the extension gives customers more options to shop for food, medicine and other supplies.
We’re expanding many Walmart store closing times from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Expanding our hours of operations provides customers with greater options to shop food, medicine and supplies. https://t.co/n5Dmzp7Kh7 pic.twitter.com/0qLBiey4Ax
— Walmart Inc. (@WalmartInc) August 14, 2020
Just to prove that it’s impossible to please everybody, one of the first tweeted replies shouted that stores should open an hour earlier. Opening times may vary but are generally around 7:00 a.m. local time.
Walmart also sets aside an hour a day, every Tuesday before the regular opening time, for customers over the age of 60. A store’s pharmacy and vision services are also open during that special hour.
While Walmart’s idea was to reduce the number of contacts for customers most susceptible to contracting the virus, many seniors have indicated that getting up, dressed, coffee’d and to the store by 6:00 a.m. is not something they plan to do. Most praised Walmart for thinking of their older customers’ health, however.
The company’s auto centers were closed from mid-March, although the services began to reopen in early June.
On July 21, Walmart announced that for the first time in decades, its stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year. The company said that the closure was meant to show appreciation for the efforts of store employees through a difficult year.
Walmart stock traded up about 0.7% at $132.82 in the mid-afternoon Friday. The stock’s 52-week range is $102.00 to $134.13, and the consensus price target is $138.71.