Special Report

10 Stores Closed on Thanksgiving

The holidays are an extremely important time for retailers, many of which depend on holiday shoppers to meet their yearly goals. This year, the holiday season is expected to be especially strong: the National Retail Federation (NRF) forecasts retail sales during the season to rise 4.1% from last year to a total of $616.9 billion.

In recent years, however, retailers have become increasingly split on when the holiday season should start. For many retailers looking for an edge in the ultra-competitive landscape, ringing in the holiday season on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is too late. These retailers have elected to plan major events for Thanksgiving, some starting as early as 5 p.m. Other retailers, however, have pushed back, stating publicly that they feel it is unfair to both employees and shoppers to open on a day that is meant for giving thanks and celebrating with family.


Click here to see the 10 stores closed on Thanksgiving.

Click here to see the eight stores open on Thanksgiving.

Many retailers feel incredible pressure to open on Thanksgiving in order to capture a share of the extra money customers have saved up for the holiday season. Further, marketing for the holiday season starts even earlier. Ads for Christmas gifts, for instance, now often start before Thanksgiving, and in some cases even before Halloween. In perhaps an extreme example, Walmart, one of the retailers open on Thanksgiving, announced September 12 as the start to its holiday layaway program.

In addition to Walmart (NYSE: WMT), companies that will be open on Thanksgiving include some of the nation’s largest retailers, including Target (NYSE: TGT) and Macy’s (NYSE: M). Department stores such as Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) and Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) will also be welcoming in customers on Thanksgiving. Some specialty retailers will also be opening early, including Staples and Toys R’ Us. For Toys R’ Us, the holiday season is especially important. The quarter that includes holiday shopping has accounted for between 42% and 43% of its annual sales in the last three years.

Yet, many retailers will remain closed on Thanksgiving. Some simply do not feel the same level of pressure to open early for the holiday season. For instance, wholesale clubs Costco (NASDAQ: COST), BJ’s (NYSE: TJX), and Sam’s Club will all be closed. These companies rely on membership fees in addition to sales to feed their bottom lines, and thus may not feel the same pressure to be open on Thanksgiving. Additionally, home improvement giants may not feel the same pressure to be open on Thanksgiving because, unlike most retailers, the holiday season does not represent their peak sales period. Rather, for companies such as Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), the spring is usually the busiest time of the year.

Other retailers have elected not to open on Thanksgiving because they prefer to give employees the day off. Both Dillard’s and the TJX Companies — parent of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods — have made public statements to that effect. Even some specialty retailers that largely rely on the holiday season have elected not to open on Thanksgiving. These include GameStop (NYSE: GME), for which — like Toys R’ Us — the holiday season accounts for a disproportionate share of sales. Similarly, Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) stores will be closed on Thanksgiving despite the fact that its retail and NOOK segments also make much of their sales during the holiday season.

Based on public statements of major retailers, 24/7 Wall St. identified the companies opening (and closing) stores on Thanksgiving. In order to be considered, a company had to be one of the top 100 retailers by U.S. sales, as measured by the NRF. Additionally, we only considered companies with a broad nationwide presence. Restaurant companies, such as McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), and grocery stores, such as Publix, were excluded from our consideration. One parent company, Wal-Mart Stores, is listed twice: its Sam’s Club stores will be closed, while its Walmart locations will be open on Thanksgiving.

These are the 10 stores closed on Thanksgiving.

The companies closed on Thanksgiving

1. Costco

Wholesale club Costco is among the largest businesses that will give its employees the day off on Thanksgiving. The warehouse club, based in Issaquah, Washington, reported U.S. sales of $74.7 billion last year, the third highest figure among all U.S. retail stores. Costco is a likely destination for many Americans preparing for the holidays. However, the company generates a substantial portion of its profits from membership fees, which would likely not meaningfully increase if it were to open its doors on Thanksgiving. Costco’s membership fees of $2.4 billion, which are generated with very little costs attached, greatly contributed to Costco’s operating profit of $3.2 billion in the 2014 fiscal year. Membership fees also increased 6% in fiscal 2014 compared with the year before.

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2. Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club is a subsidiary of Wal-Mart Stores, the nation’s largest retailer. Sam’s Club operated 632 stores in the U.S. at the end of its most recent fiscal year, according to the company. These stores generated over $57 billion in revenues and nearly $2 billion in operating profits. While Sam’s Club will not be open on Thanksgiving, its larger cousin Walmart will be. Of course, being closed on Thanksgiving does not preclude Sam’s Club from launching a massive Black Friday sale. According to a recent release, “Sam’s Club is continuing its tradition of extending most Black Friday deals to the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving while supplies last.”

3. BJ’s Wholesale Club

BJ’s is one of a number of popular warehouse clubs, directly competing against Sam’s Club and Costco. Like its competitors, BJ’s will not be open on Thanksgiving. In a recent press release, the company said, “Once again, BJ’s is bucking the retail trend of putting sales on Thanksgiving above family time and will continue its tradition of not opening on Thanksgiving Day.” Since it is privately held, BJ’s financials are not publicly available. According to the NRF and consulting group Kantar Retail, BJ’s had nearly $13 billion in sales in 2013.

4. Nordstrom

Seattle-based Nordstrom is one of the nation’s largest retailers, with more than $12 billion in U.S. sales in 2013. The company’s sales improved substantially in recent years. Nordstrom has reported four consecutive fiscal years of same-store sales growth — the metric tracks sales at stores open at least 12 months. Also, between 2009 and 2013, sales per square foot rose from $368 to $474. While Nordstrom will not look to boost its top line by opening on Thanksgiving this year, a company’s spokesperson told 24/7 Wall St. that “[We] will have a small number of employees helping to take care of customers in our customer contact center as well as at Nordstrom Bank to take care of our cardholders.”

5. The TJX Companies

TJX, whose store brands include T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods, will remain closed this Thanksgiving. TJX spokesperson Doreen Thompson wrote in an email to 24/7 Wall St., “We are pleased to give our Associates the time to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.” However, like many other major retailers closed on Thanksgiving, TJX’s stores still have big plans for Black Friday. Thompson’s email also noted that the majority of the company’s stores would open Friday at 7 a.m., with 25 Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores scheduled to open that morning at 5 a.m.

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6. The Home Depot

Home Depot notes on its website that its stores are closed on two nationally recognized holidays: Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unlike most retailers, spring is actually Home Depot’s busiest season. Last spring, Home Depot hired some 80,000 seasonal workers to prepare for the surge in shoppers. Still, like most major retailers, the home improvement giant will be offering Black Friday deals. In recent months, Home Depot has had to deal with the fallout from a data breach that may have compromised roughly 56 million customer payment cards as well as 53 million emails.

7. Lowe’s

Like its rival Home Depot, Lowe’s typically ramps up activity in the spring season. According to a company spokesperson, “Spring is our Christmas. It’s the busiest selling season and the time when Lowe’s hires additional seasonal employees.” Although spring is the peak time for the company, Lowe’s will still look to attract customers on Black Friday. However, Lowe’s plans for Black Friday do not include opening on Thanksgiving. Instead, the retailer will open stores at 5 a.m. and offer deals from November 27 to December 3.

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8. Gamestop

Gamestop will remain closed on Thanksgiving. However, Black Friday at Gamestop may still encroach on Thanksgiving Day to some degree. Gamestop recently announced it will open its doors at 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday. The gaming retail outlet reported U.S. sales of $6.1 billion last year, down 0.6% from the previous year. Gamestop may lose customers on Black Friday to competitors that will be open on Thanksgiving this year. Some have argued that allowing employees to stay home with their families on Thanksgiving is both ethical and preferable from a public relations perspective.

9. Dillard’s

In October, Dillard’s said on Twitter, “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring our customers’ and associates’ time with family.” Like other retailers, the holiday season is still very important to its annual financial performance. Last year, Dillard’s more than $2 billion of the company’s $6.5 billion in net sales occurred during the fourth quarter of its fiscal year. The fourth quarter includes the holiday season. The company, which was founded in 1938 when William T. Dillard opened his first store, is still largely controlled by the Dillard family. Dillard’s celebrated its 75th holiday season last year.

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10. Barnes & Noble

Like many retail businesses, Barnes & Noble depends heavily on the holiday shopping season. The promise of a sales boost was not enough to keep doors open, however, as the company recently announced it would give its employees Thanksgiving day off this year. A spokesman for the company recently told ThinkProgress: “We want our booksellers to to have the opportunity to enjoy what is a family holiday.” This is despite the fact that Barnes & Noble’s retail segment depends heavily on the holiday season. Other parts of the business, however, are not. Notably, the company’s college segment is much more reliant on textbook sales during the starts of college semesters.

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