Once again, some of the country’s largest shopping centers are staying closed on Thanksgiving as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend holiday customs.
The United States’ biggest mall owner, Simon Property Group, announced earlier this month that it will keep its locations closed on Nov. 25, or Thanksgiving Day, this year. Simon’s properties will reopen to the public on Black Friday.
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As of June 30, the company owned or held an interest in 202 shopping centers in the United States, consisting of 95 malls, 69 Premium Outlets, 14 Mills, six lifestyle centers, as well as 18 other retail properties across 37 states and Puerto Rico.
The announcement marks the second year in a row that Simon has opted to keep its properties closed on Thanksgiving. Last year, chairman, president and CEO David Simon said that the company decided to not open to properties to allow “associates to spend the holiday with their loved ones.”
This year, REI Co-op, Walmart, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Kohl’s have also said that they will be closed for business on Thanksgiving.
While recovery is in motion, this holiday season still faces impact from the pandemic. Experts predict that supply chain issues will create a holiday season marked by empty shelves, out-of-stock product and fewer discounts. According to Adobe’s annual holiday forecast report, out-of-stock messages are up 172% this year compared to the pre-pandemic period of Jan. 2020 and up 360% compared to Jan. of 2019. Apparel is the category with the highest amount of out-of-stock messages. Adobe predicts that the problem will worsen as the holidays near.Despite the delays Consumers also largely plan to return to in-person shopping this Black Friday, according to KPMG’s consumer pulse survey for the holiday season of 2021. According to the survey of more than 1,000 consumers, 32% plan to shop in person on Black Friday this year, compared with 16% last year. Respondents also reported that they plan to attend more in-person holiday gatherings this year.
As one of the busiest shopping days of the year, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with getting a head start on holiday gifting ahead of the Black Friday rush. However, an increasing number of nationwide chains have made the decision to dim their lights or give their employees that day off as the COVID-19 health crisis continues to threaten the holiday shopping season. Instead, some retailers are offering markdowns via online channels to encourage customers to do their shopping from the comfort of their own homes.
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