Friday, October 24, 2014

Four Chain Stores Will Close On Thanksgiving Day To Let Workers Spend Time With Family

by Bryce Covert Posted on October 23, 2014

Four major chain stores — Dillard’s, Burlington, REI, American Girl — confirmed to ThinkProgress on Thursday that they will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day as other stores begin to announce they’ll begin Black Friday a day early.

In explaining its decision, a spokesperson for Dillard’s told ThinkProgress, “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring of our customers’ and associates’ time with family.” The other three didn’t elaborate on the reasons for staying closed.

By contrast, last week Macy’s was the first retailer to announce that it would be open on Thanksgiving Day, starting at 6 p.m. That’s the second year in a row it has opened on the federal holiday itself, rather than at midnight as it had in 2012. Walmart also told ThinkProgress that nearly 1 million workers will have to report to work on Thanksgiving as it will be open all day long. More are likely to make the same announcement, as last year Kmart, Target, Toys R Us, Gap, Best Buy, and a handful of others decided to follow Macy’s lead and begin Black Friday on Thursday.

While the stores that open say employees are happy to volunteer and get extra holiday pay, that may not be the whole story for everyone. The United States is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee that workers can take paid holidays. That ends up meaning nearly a quarter of private sector employees don’t get them, including 45 percent of service sector workers. On top of that, many retail workers struggle with erratic scheduling practices that leave them without enough hours to live off of, so they may be desperate to get the extra shifts. There were also reports last year of Kmart workers who were denied their requests to take the day off.

The stores that decide to stay closed and give their employees the holiday may find they end up rewarded. Last year, half of consumers said they disapproved of the early hours and the vast majority didn’t plan to shop on Thanksgiving anyway.

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