Black Friday shoppers, prepare yourselves: The nation's largest shopping destination is closing its doors on Thanksgiving for the first time in 24 years. That's right. The Mall of America located in Bloomington, Minnesota, is encouraging their 150+ stores to close for the holiday to encourage family time.
On Wednesday, mall employees received notice that the Bloomington mega-mall would shut down as many operations as possible, including some of its main attractions such as Nickelodeon Universe and the movie theaters. The mall's senior vice president of marketing and business development, Jill Renslow, said in a statement, "We've been talking about this for months, looking at the numbers, looking at the pros and the cons. We're excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families." And the Mall of America employs a lot of people: specifically, this will give more than 15,000 people a chance to spend the holiday with their loved ones. However, security and maintenance personnel will still be on hand for the Walk to End Hunger fundraiser that takes place at the mall every year.
Over the holiday weekend, the mall usually anticipates about 400,000 people who arrive in droves hoping to snag the best deals before the holidays. So this prompts another question: Will other businesses follow their example and close their doors for Black Friday?
Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst with NPD Group, says that while he doesn't see the entire country closing down for the holiday, he does think it will change corporate company's minds and think about the bigger picture. He continues by saying that he fears some stores may fear not to open in fear of missing out on a huge shopping day. After all, some people enjoy getting caught up in all the madness of Black Friday after they eat their Thanksgiving meal and some people would rather be out with their families than cooped up inside the house all day long. (I mean, it helps to burn those Thanksgiving calories, right?) And even if there is no expectation for businesses across the country to immediately follow in the footsteps of America's biggest shopping center, it's a great place to start. Retailers like Nordstrom, Costco, Home Depot, and Apple aren't too big on staying open for Thanksgiving, and typically have a later opening time than most retailers on the special day. Outdoor company REI sent a clear message last year after choosing to stay closed on Black Friday.
But Black Friday shoppers, don't get too upset: The mall is set to reopen on Black Friday at 5 a.m with opening activities for all and giveaways throughout the day.