Mall of America

Thanksgiving lives on in Bloomington, Minn.

The Mall of America is pushing back on the trend that’s seen more retailers get a start on holiday selling by opening on Thanksgiving Day and will instead remain closed to “give the holiday back to the [mall’s] 15,000 employees.”

“In years past we’ve all rallied together to answer the call for 24/7 shopper access that the Thanksgiving-Black Friday weekend brings,” said the mall’s executive vice president Rich Hoge and senior vice president of marketing Jill Renslow in a letter to employees.

“However, it also meant that team members may not have been able to share the day with family and friends,” the executives wrote. “That is why this year we have made the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day so that team members can put that energy where it matters most, into making memories with the people they care about most.”

Some mall tenants might choose to stay open for Thanksgiving and the mall said they’d have security and other personal on hand if necessary.

Mall of America ranks as North America’s largest retail destination, covering 5.6 million square feet with 520 stores and restaurants.

Thanksgiving Day has started to eat into Black Friday in recent years as retailers began to kick off the Christmas selling season earlier and earlier. But the race to open first caused no small amount of grumbling from store associates and has spread out the sales over a longer time period.

Online sales, which used to be concentrated on Cyber Monday, after the long weekend, have been taking share from brick-and-mortar retailers.

By closing on Thanksgiving Day, Mall of America is joining in on the family-friendly counter trend. Last year, REI went a step further and said it would close on Black Friday. Chief executive officer Jerry Stritzke said at the time, “We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles.”

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