It is a different year. Walmart is closing on Thanksgiving.
The list of retailers opening stores on Thanksgiving Day has been growing for years and 2020 may prove no different than in the past. It will, however, have one notable exception as Walmart has announced that it will close its namesake and Sam’s Club stores on that day.
In a memo to associates shared with RetailWire, Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furmer wrote that the company has been thinking of ways it can support its associates who have been “working at an incredible pace” and setting “an amazing example for others” during a time of “unprecedented challenges” for the country.
Acknowledging that the best ideas come from the company’s associates, Mr. Furmer identified a recommendation from Kevin Carlyle, the people lead at a Walmart in Round Rock, TX, that the chain close for Thanksgiving so associates can spend the day with those they love.
Walmart’s decision to close its stores on Thanksgiving for the first time going back to the 1980’s wasn’t the only news it had for frontline associates yesterday. The retailer announced that it will follow special cash bonuses handed out in April and June with another one next month.
Full-time hourly associates and drivers will receive $300 and part-time and temporary workers will get $150. Frontline assistant, store and facility managers will also get a bonus for their dedicated work during the first half of the year. With the August payment, Walmart will have directed $1.1 in special bonuses to workers this year.
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How likely are other large retailers that have opened on Thanksgiving Day in past years to follow Walmart’s lead and close in 2020? What other ways can Walmart and other retailers show appreciation for frontline workers at this point in time?