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Target to close for Thanksgiving 2021, citing customer feedback

The decision to keep the doors locked on a traditional family holiday was just one move in what Target calls a successful shopping season.
Credit: AP
A Target employee places a curbside pickup purchase into the trunk of a customer in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020.

MINNEAPOLIS — We're barely past New Years, but Minnesota-based Target Corp. is already looking ahead to the 2021 holiday season, with a decision to keep the doors locked on all its stores for Thanksgiving. 

The announcement was made Wednesday as part of a look back on a one-of-a-kind 2020, due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and dramatic changes that came with it. Target says despite concerns about the virus and keeping things workable for both guests and employees, the retailer says the 2020 holiday season was "safe, easy and full of joy."

In its performance analysis, Target says November and December sales were up a combined 17.2% last year, due to an in-store sales increase of 4.2%, and a whopping 102% on the digital side. 

Target says strategies taken to boost customer safety also proved popular. 

  • Sales on same-day services (Order Pick Up, Drive Up and Shipt) grew 193 percent
  • Drive Up grew more than 500 percent
  • Shipt grew more than 300 percent

During one shopping day in December Target says its teams provided customers with 6.5 million items via  Drive Up and Order Pickup, the largest single-day sales number in company history. 

"We’re very pleased with our results, and the strength of our performance is a reflection of the tireless work of our team to support our guests through a safe, convenient and inspirational experience," said Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell. "Throughout the holidays, we delivered joy for holiday shoppers while focusing on safety—adjusting promotions to reduce crowding while delivering easy, contactless fulfillment options through Drive Up and Shipt."

Target also noted that the decision to spread Black Friday sales, traditionally a one-day event, out over the entire holiday resulted in increased business and less stress for customers. The decision to stay closed on Thanksgiving was also made to remove some stress from the holidays, and Target says it was so well-received by guests that stores will remain closed all day on Thanksgiving 2021. 

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