- Walgreens will close most locations Thanksgiving Day for the first time in its history, the company announced Thursday, joining the recent trend of other large U.S. retailers closing for the federal holiday.
- Tracey Brown, executive VP of Walgreens Retail and chief customer officer, said in a press release that the company’s decision was based in part on employee feedback. “We have consistently heard from our team members — who are the face of Walgreens — that time off is a meaningful way for us to demonstrate we value them,” Brown said.
- The company said almost all of its 24-hour locations will remain open on Thanksgiving as will a “small number” of Walgreens distribution centers and other sites.
Thanksgiving closures garnered attention during worker-friendly labor markets in the years before the pandemic as a way for retailers to attract talent during a busy time of year. This trend continued through the pandemic.
Walmart closed stores for Thanksgiving in 2020 for the first time since the 1980s, acknowledging the work employees had done during the pandemic’s first year. Competitor Target similarly closed in 2020, and both companies have continued the practice ever since. Others in the space, like REI, close for Thanksgiving as well as Black Friday.
In its announcement, Walgreens said employee efforts during the “respiratory illness season,” such as providing vaccinations, screenings and prescription access, motivated its decision to close.
“We know that this season comes with immense pressures to provide the highest level of healthcare and service from our pharmacies,” Brown said. “Our change in operations this year is intended to acknowledge the dedication of our store team members and leadership, pharmacists and pharmacy techs who are working incredibly hard to deliver great customer and patient care.”