Several years ago, big-box giant Walmart surprised the country by announcing that its Black Friday sales would start on Thanksgiving night. Die-hard Black Friday shoppers cheered the decision, while die-hard turkey day enthusiasts claimed the move destroyed the meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday and forced both employees and customers to abandon their families.

The two sides have battled ever since, as more and more stores have jumped on the early-sales game. But the tide might finally be turning. In recent years, a number of stores have announced they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. And one is taking things even further and closing for Black Friday, too.

According to the website Bestblackfriday.com and TheBlackFriday.com, these stores will keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving:

  • A.C. Moore
  • Army and Airforce Exchange Service
  • Abt Electronics
  • Academy Sports + Outdoors
  • Ace Hardware
  • Acme Tools
  • Allen Edmonds
  • American Girl
  • Ann Taylor
  • At Home
  • AT&T (Company-Owned Stores)
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • Big 5 Sporting Goods
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club
  • Blain’s Farm & Fleet
  • Bloomingdale's
  • Bob’s Discount Furniture
  • Burlington Coat Factory
  • Campmor
  • Christmas Tree Shops
  • Christopher & Banks
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Costco
  • Craft Warehouse
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Dillard’s
  • Dressbarn (majority of stores)
  • DSW
  • Fred Meyer
  • Guitar Center
  • H&M
  • Half Price Books
  • Harbor Freight Tools
  • Hobby Lobby
  • The Home Depot
  • HomeGoods
  • IKEA
  • Jo-Ann Stores
  • Jos. A Bank
  • La-z-boy
  • Lamps Plus
  • Lowe’s
  • Marshalls
  • Mattress Firm
  • Menards
  • Micro Center
  • Mills Fleet Farm
  • Music & Arts
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Nordstrom
  • Nordstrom Rack
  • Office Depot & OfficeMax
  • P.C. Richard & Son
  • Patagonia
  • Petco
  • PetSmart
  • Pet Supplies Plus
  • Pier 1 Imports
  • Publix
  • Raymour & Flanigan Furniture | Mattresses
  • REI
  • Sam’s Club
  • Sears Outlet
  • Sierra Trading Post
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Staples
  • Stein Mart
  • Sur La Table
  • The Container Store
  • The Paper Store
  • TJ Maxx
  • Tractor Supply Co.
  • True Value
  • West Marine

Family time (and online shopping) rule

woman shopping online A lot of the people who shop on Thanksgiving and Black Friday do their shopping online. (Photo: My Life Graphic/Shutterstock)

When asked why the stores were closing for Thanksgiving, the response was the same. Store managers want their employees and customers to have time to spend with their families, time that's not interrupted because an employee has to go into work or because a shopper doesn't want to miss out on holiday sales. That's a message many shoppers will likely reward when stores do open on Black Friday.

In 2015, outdoor retailer REI bucked the holiday shopping trend even further by announcing that all of its stores would be closed on Thanksgiving and also on Black Friday. Instead, REI encouraged its employees and customers to #OptOutside, for a weekend connected with family and nature. That move resulted in 1 million new memberships for the store.

According to a poll conducted by BestBlackFriday.com this year, almost 72% of shoppers think stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day, while only 28% are in favor of it. This coincides with a report released several years ago that found shopping at brick-and-mortar stores had decreased on both Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day.

With Americans reluctant to give up their post-turkey family time in search of the best deals, and with many stores now offering "doorbuster" sales online, it's no wonder cybershopping has become the name of the game for the holiday season. While foot traffic decreased at many stores on Black Friday in past years, Adobe reported that online Black Friday sales brought in $6.2 billion in online sales in 2018, a growth of 23.6% from 2017.

The trend to lure shoppers in early by kicking-off Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day may finally be turning, as more shoppers are skipping the crowds and doing their shopping — no matter the day — from home.

Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in November 2017.

These stores will be closed on Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving shoppers in search of the best holiday deals no longer have to head to the store.