Mall of America to close on Thanksgiving, pushing Black Friday back to Friday

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., is taking a stand against the growing trend of Thanksgiving shopping.
(Jim Mone / Associated Press)

Mall of America, the nation’s largest shopping mall, has taken a stand against the growing trend of Thanksgiving shopping and will be closed on the turkey feast this year.

The center, based in Bloomington, Minn., and anchored by Macy’s, H&M and others, has been open on Thanksgiving since 2012. But officials told the Associated Press that the mall wants to offer workers time with their families.

The mall will reopen at 5 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

“We think Thanksgiving is a day for families and for people we care about,” Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing, told the Associated Press. “We want to give this day back.”


The Friday after Thanksgiving had long served as the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. But over the last several years, Thanksgiving has become the new tradition as malls and stores try to outdo others to get their first dibs on the shopper at a time of increasing competition from online retailers.

Many major stores such as Macy’s, Target and J.C. Penney have opened increasingly earlier on Thanksgiving. But the move has also been controversial as many workers have voiced complaints and signed petitions that stores are putting profits over workers’ time to be with their families.

Office supplies retailer Staples Inc. announced last month that it will close on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row, though it will offer deals on its website. High-end stores such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue have remained closed on that day.

Given its size and status, the Mall of America could inspire other malls and stores to follow suit. Many of the major retailers and malls have not made their plans for the Thanksgiving weekend season public.


At Mall of America, the mall opened for the first time on Thanksgiving at midnight in 2012 and then in 2013 opened at 8 p.m. For Thanksgiving in 2014 and 2015, the mall was open at 6 p.m.

Mall of America’s move could affect 14,000 employees who work at the mall or at one of its tenants. The number includes 1,200 mall employees. Still, Mall of America said some of its tenants may choose to be open on Thanksgiving. So it will have security and other key personnel on duty to ensure smooth operations.

For the first time ever, Mall of America will close its movie theater and its Nickelodeon Universe amusement park on Thanksgiving. It owns both attractions.

It will continue to host its Walk to End Hunger on Thanksgiving morning, a community event that the mall has hosted for eight years that helps provide meals for families in need.


Renslow noted that as Mall of America began opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day, it had gotten some split feedback from workers. Asked if Mall of America would revert to opening on Thanksgiving next year if sales suffer that weekend, Renslow said she’s confident that business will be consistent.

Overall, she believes Mall of America will continue to attract 400,000 visitors for the long holiday weekend.


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