Staples, the largest office products company in the United States, will close all of its stores on Thanksgiving Day this year. Instead, the retailer will offer its customers online-only deals on the holiday and then reopens stores at 6 a.m. on Black Friday, the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.
The company said in a statement Thursday that customers and employers should enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday at home with friends and family.“We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way,” Demos Parneros, president of North American Stores & Online at Staples, said in a company statement.
This is not the first time a major retail chain has planned to close its doors on Thanksgiving. Last year, more than two dozen major chains including Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond and Burlington Coat Factory were closed for the same reason as Staples.
Staples’ decision comes amid a growing national debate over pay and working conditions for low-wage employees, including fast food workers who have staged repeated walkouts in recent months as part of their fight for a $15 minimum wage. Several corporations have bowed to the pressure or attempted to preempt protests by raising wages, including Walmart.
Last year, Walmart employees and labor union members protested at hundreds of stores across the country, demanding fair labor practices and a $15 minimum wage. Walmart, which has been criticized for requiring many employees to work on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, responded by raising its minimum wage to $9 an hour in 2015 and an expected $10 an hour in 2016. It has since announced that it will be cutting some employees’ hours to slake investors’ demand for growing profits.