Walmart Inc. is giving its customers ample time to plan accordingly for last-minute Thanksgiving Day items, as the major retailer has revealed that its U.S. stores will close on the holiday, which this year falls on Nov. 25.
The announcement was made by Elizabeth Brown, a people lead from Store 5260 in Rogers, Ark., before a crowd of approximately 1,000 associates during the retailer’s Associate Celebration meeting. The day off is considered a “thank you” to associates for their continued hard work during the pandemic. This is the second year running that Walmart has closed stores on Thanksgiving Day to give time back to associates.
“Throughout the pandemic, our associates have been nothing short of heroic in how they have stepped up to serve our customers and their communities. Sam Walton said, ‘Our people make the difference,’ and that’s never been more true than it is right now,” said Dacona Smith, EVP and COO for Walmart U.S. “Closing our stores on Thanksgiving Day is one way we’re saying ‘thank you’ to our teams for their dedication and hard work this year. We hope everyone will take the opportunity to be with their loved ones during what’s always a special time.”
Stores will operate regular posted hours on Wednesday, Nov. 24. Information about store hours for Friday, Nov. 26, will be announced at a later date.
Throughout the pandemic, Walmart has continued to place a heavy emphasis on the well-being of its associates. Recently, the company expanded access to no-cost counseling and extended its COVID-19 emergency-leave policy through Sept. 30. Closing its stores on Nov. 25 is an additional way that the retailer is thanking associates for their dedication to serving customers and their perseverance throughout the pandemic.
Walmart recently reported that first-quarter sales at its U.S. stores division increased 5% to $93.1 billion, while operating profit surged 26.8% to $5.4 billion. Traffic to stores declined 3.2%, transaction sizes increased 9.5%, and e-commerce growth, which includes digitally enabled sales fulfilled by stores, increased 37%. The company also noted that it gained market share.
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates approximately 10,500 stores and clubs under 48 banners in 24 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list.