‘Holiday shopping will be different’: Walmart says it will keep stores closed this Thanksgiving

Walmart stores will be closed this Thanksgiving, the retailer announced Tuesday.

In a memo to employees, Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner announced another bonus for employees and that stores will break from tradition and close for the holiday, which usually is the start of the holiday shopping season and Black Friday weekend.

“We know holiday shopping will be different this year, and we will be managing sales events differently,” Furner wrote. “Our best ideas come from our associates, and this year we have decided to close our stores on Thanksgiving Day – November 26.”.

Walmart stores haven’t closed on Thanksgiving since the late 1980s, the company told USA TODAY. Christmas is the only day each year most Walmart locations close.

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Furner said the employee who suggested the idea of closing for Thanksgiving was Kevin Carlyle, who works at a store in Round Rock, Texas.

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“We know it’s been a trying year, and you’ve stepped up,” Furner wrote. “We want you to enjoy the day at home with your loved ones.”.

Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations will operate with normal hours, the day before Thanksgiving, Nov. 25. Store and club hours for Friday, Nov. 27, which is Black Friday, will be shared at a later date, the company said in a news release.

Sam’s Club locations traditionally stay closed on the holiday, but most Walmart stores have kicked off Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving and have kept doors open.

Walmart kicked off its 2019 Black Friday sale in stores at 6 p.M. Local time on Thanksgiving Day, but offered many online deals earlier.

Since March, Walmart has been operating with reduced hours due to the coronavirus. Most stores are open from 7 a.M. To 8:30 p.M. Daily.

Walmart and Sam’s Club have made other changes including limiting the number of shoppers in stores and on Monday both started requiring all shoppers wear masks.

Walmart giving employees bonuses

Walmart and Sam’s Club are giving employees another bonus worth approximately $428 million, the company said Tuesday.

This is the third special bonus the company has given workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, “totaling $1.1 billion in bonuses so far this year, in addition to the regular incentive it provides to frontline associates on a quarterly basis.”.

“You’ve been working at an incredible pace, you’ve solved problems, and you’ve set an amazing example for others,” Furner wrote in the employee memo. “To further appreciate the work that’s being done throughout our stores and supply chain, we’re pleased to announce another special cash bonus for the summer.”.

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The bonus is $300 for full-time hourly associates and drivers and $150 for part-time hourly and temporary associates who work in stores, clubs, supply chain and offices if they are employed as of July 31. The bonuses will be included in the Aug. 20 paychecks.

The company said assistant managers also will receive a bonus, and store and facility managers will also receive one for their efforts the first half of this year.

Sam’s Club and Walmart gave employees cash bonuses in April and another bonus in June.

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Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko.

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