Walmart will close its stores on Thanksgiving. The move marks an end to a tradition for the retailer, which had been open on Thanksgiving Day for more than 30 years. The chain's Sam’s Clubs stores will be closed as well on Thanksgiving Day.

The day has become synonymous with the Black Friday holiday season kickoff as sales have driven customers to the stores before their Thanksgiving leftovers were even put away.

The company’s President and CEO, John Furner made the announcement on Tuesday, as the company shared an update regarding performance in the wake of COVID-19.

In today’s statement, Furner praised the efforts of the company’s associates, saying they want their employees to enjoy the day with their loved ones.

“We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” said Furner. We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”

The chain said the stores will operate normal hours on Wednesday, November 25. Special hours for Black Friday (November 27) will be announced at a later day.

The retailer operates more than 4,700 Walmart stores and 600 Sam’s Clubs across the United States. It’s estimated that the company employs 1.5 million Americans, according to its website.

The company’s announcement also included the news that they will invest $428 million in another associate bonus. The retailer says they’ve shared $1.1 billion in bonuses so far this year. A report from the Washington Post says the company reported a reported first-quarter profit of $3.99 billion, that number is likely to be even higher in the second quarter, amid the COVID-19 crisis. 

“Our associates have been working at an incredible pace, they’ve solved problems, and they’ve set an amazing example for others,” Furner said.

Meanwhile, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the upcoming holiday shopping remains to be seen.

In recent years, of course, there’s been a significant shift for consumers to shop online that weekend. CNBC estimated that shoppers spent $4.2 billion online on Thanksgiving Day last year. 

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