I was literally putting the finishing touches on a column for the November issue of the magazine calling for a Black Friday do-over—predicting this would be the year major retailers scale back on the shopping madness that has overtaken Thanksgiving—when Mall of America made it official, announcing the largest mall in America will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
MOA called it an effort to “give the holiday back to the 15,000 employees who dedicate their time to millions of guests each year."
“In years past we’ve all rallied together to answer the call for 24/7 shopper access that the Thanksgiving/Black Friday weekend brings. However, it also meant that team members may not have been able to share the day with family and friends," Mall of America Executive Vice President, Rich Hoge and Senior Vice President of Marketing, Jill Renslow shared in a letter sent to Mall of America employees and tenants Wednesday morning. "That is why this year we have made the decision to close on Thanksgiving Day so that team members can put that energy where it matters most, into making memories with the people they care about most.”
This will be the headline on what is shaping up to be a more civilized shopping season. Stores opening early or staying open late are no longer news. Last year, REI. bucked the 24/7 holiday shopping trend by closing not only on Thanksgiving Day, but Black Friday as well. It was a bold moved that paid off, not only in big publicity, but in support from customers who are tired—literally—of feeling pressured to start shopping before the pumpkin pie has been served. Being closed on Black Friday did not hurt REI's over all sales for the season, reports said.
But for the devoted, there is still the opportunity to shop before sunrise. MOA will open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday with a special door opening ceremony at the north entrance. The area will be transformed into what the mall describes as a virtual North Pole. There will be gifts, music, deals, and a visit from Santa and his elves.
MOA will still host the annual Walk to End Hunger on Thanksgiving morning. And the mall did leave open the possibility for some restaurants and attractions to open on Thanksgiving Day if they choose.