Target to close stores on Thanksgiving Day 2021 after 'strong' 2020 holiday season

(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images)

Target is thinking ahead for their customers, telling them don’t plan on shopping at stores on Thanksgiving Day 2021.

The retail corporation made the announcement to close stores on the holiday after navigating the challenges of the 2020 holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many retailers, Target was forced to reinvent the holiday shopping experience, encouraging customers to shift more of their shopping to online and away from the stores.

"Our resilient team members used all they’d learned in 2020 to bring those experiences to life—and our results show those efforts resonated," the company said in a statement.

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Companies leaders said their data showed customers faired very well during the holiday shopping season in November and December 2020.  According to Target, customers bought 150 million items using the store’s drive-up and order pickup options, more than four times the amount during the same time period in 2019.  

"Sales on same-day services grew 193 percent," the company said in its statement, comparing the figures to 2019. "Drive Up grew more than 500 percent. Approximately 95 percent of Target’s sales were fulfilled by its stores."

The Minneapolis company also reported that its online sales surged 102% for the November and December period. Sales at its stores, opened for at least a year, rose 4.2%. Customer traffic was up 4.3%, and average dollars spent rose 12.3%.

Target, along with several major retailers, closed their doors on Thanksgiving Day 2020 to prevent crowds and a spread of coronavirus cases. They also limited customers inside stores and adjusted their hours throughout the shopping season.

However, it’s not clear if that helped or hurt businesses.

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The holiday season, which accounts for about 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales, had always been make-or-break for struggling stores. 

The National Retail Federation predicted a 3.6% to 5.2% growth in 2020 holiday sales over the 2019 holiday season. The NRF projects it will meet that forecast as more sales statistics become available.

The U.S. Census Bureau will release its December retail statistics later this month, allowing the country to get a fuller picture of how the 2020 holiday shopping season performed.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.