Walmart closes Thanksgiving Day. Here’s how to plan for Black Friday

Walmart will close all of its stores in the United States on Thursday, November 25 for Thanksgiving.

This is the second year in a row that the retail giant has closed its doors for the holidays. However, Walmart is expanding much of its Black Friday online delivery and shopping options that it has launched in recent years in an attempt to compete with other major retailers, including Amazon.

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In recent years, it was customary for Walmart supermarkets and Walmart neighborhood markets to close for a few hours in the evening, giving employees time to enjoy Thanksgiving, before reopening shortly before midnight for Black Friday sales.

But 2020 has brought a lot of changes. Most Walmarts are no longer open 24/7 due to pandemic concerns and restrictions, and instead of closing at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Thursday, stores will close at 11 p.m. on Wednesday the 24th. November and won’t reopen until 5 a.m. Friday November 26.

Tom Ward, senior vice president of customer products for Walmart, said the new practice is a “thank you” to employees for their hard work.

“Store pickup and delivery will operate normally the day before Thanksgiving and resume at 12 noon local time the next day,” Ward said in a statement.

General merchandise trainer Kayla Fremin, who works for a Walmart Supercenter near Norman and Noble, is happy that the day off has become permanent.

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Kayla Fremin, general merchandise coach for a Walmart Supercenter near Norman and Noble, discusses the changes to Thanksgiving shopping hours on November 12.

“It was actually one of our associates from Texas who sent this to Dacona Smith, who is one of our vice presidents,” Fremin said. “They really liked the idea, so that we can relax and recover with our families for the holidays, so they launched it last year, and I don’t know if that will ever end. We really appreciate it.

Walmart switches from Black Friday to “Deals for Days” offer for a full week

As part of its increased online shopping efforts, Walmart offered discount deals for two Fridays before Black Friday.

The “Deals for Days” events were offered on November 5th and 12th, then after skipping on a Friday, will be offered again on November 26th.

Its Black Friday pricing on certain products will be applied from Monday, November 22.

“It’s so that customers have the freedom to shop online if they want to, or if they want to come in, but it’s not that packed anyway,” Fremin said. “So they have more freedom, despite COVID, and it’s also a little easier for customers to spread their money out when shopping for Christmas.”

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Interior signage at a Walmart supercentre promotes the store's Black Friday shopping deals.

For the Cedar Lane store in Norman, these Friday events were uncrowded. But Fremin said it simply suggests a nationwide shift to online shopping and delivery.

“Honestly, I don’t know if this will affect our Black Friday sales at all,” Fremin said. “And everything that we are going to offer in stores for Black Friday will begin this Monday at 7 pm”

Electronics and toys have been popular and are expected to remain popular items throughout the shopping season.

“So far we’ve sold a lot of laptops, tablets, a lot of TVs, and I can only imagine there will be a lot of toys and electronics out on Friday,” Fremin said.

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Walmart also announced three new delivery updates for November and December.

The company is extending nationwide in-store delivery from two hours until 10 p.m. local time. This allows customers to place orders up to 6 p.m. for same or next day delivery and additional time to change orders if necessary.

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Stores are also adding more delivery windows through service providers on Spark Driver, Walmart’s delivery app.

These delivery services are not free. There is a one-time delivery charge and additional charges for deliveries made within two hours.

Walmart + members have some of these services included in their membership fees. This membership was seen as an attempt to win back Amazon buyers when it launched in September 2020, as its annual fee is cheaper than Amazon’s Prime membership program.

Additionally, Walmart allows delivery of oversized items such as bicycles, 70-inch TVs, and manufactured Christmas trees, as well as alcohol.

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