Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey. Walmart saw profits jump last quarter as e-commerce sales soared during the coronavirus pandemic.

Press DISPLAY | Corbis News | Getty Images

Walmart said its stores will close on Thanksgiving Day on Friday and is joining big rival Target to close its brick and mortar locations on National Day.

With the move, two of the country’s largest discounters are showing how the pandemic has had a lasting impact on the industry – even if the Covid 19 cases are declining and the health crisis in the US subsides on Thanksgiving closed. Target announced its decision in January.

For many years, consumers started their Christmas shopping in earnest the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday. But until last year, some retailers had postponed the starting gun for Black Friday events earlier.

Many retailers, including Best Buy and Lowe’s, adjusted the rhythm of their Christmas sales season over the past year. Companies started selling around Halloween but closed stores on Thanksgiving Day and put more promotions online to try to contain the crowds that could help spread the virus and appreciate the frontline workers.

Walmart announced the news of this year’s Thanksgiving to a group of store employees during its staff party. This meeting usually coincides with Walmart’s annual shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, which was held virtually for the second consecutive year.

Walmart’s chief operating officer, Dacona Smith, said in a press release that closing stores over the holidays “is a way to say ‘thank you’ to our teams for their dedication and hard work this year”.

Walmart said it would split the hours for Black Friday at a later date.