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Saturday, November 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Mall of America bucks trend by closing on Thanksgiving

This Sept. 25, 2015, file photo shows the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (Jim Mone / AP)
This Sept. 25, 2015, file photo shows the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn. (Jim Mone / AP)
By Kavita Kumar Tribune News Service

MINNEAPOLIS – Bucking the trend in recent years of Black Friday shopping encroaching into Thanksgiving, the nation’s biggest mall has decided not to open on the holiday this year.

The Mall of America notified its employees and tenants Wednesday morning that it will close the mall – including Nickelodeon Universe and even its movie theaters – on Thanksgiving Day for the first time. Its 520-plus stores will have the option to open on the holiday, but mall executives expect that most will decide to remain closed.

“We’ve been talking about this for months, looking at the numbers, looking at the pros and the cons,” said Jill Renslow, the mall’s senior vice president of marketing and business development. “We’re excited to give this day back to our employees so they can celebrate with their families.”

The decision means that most of the 1,200 people who directly work for the suburban Minneapolis mall will get Thanksgiving off. If stores follow suit, the approximately 13,000 people who work at them will also get the day off. A limited number of the mall’s security and maintenance personnel will still work since some stores will likely decide to open and an annual fundraiser walk will still go on.

By making this move, Renslow added the mall also hoped to “bring that special magic back to Black Friday.” The mall will officially open at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, instead of staying open all night as it has in recent years.

Last year, the Mall of America encouraged its stores to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving and more than 150 of its stores did so, most of them staying open through the night. But for many of the mall’s smaller specialty stores, it was a hardship to staff those hours, which was also a factor in the mall’s decision.

“By closing on Thanksgiving, we’re confident we’ll still get those strong numbers throughout the Black Friday weekend,” Renslow said.

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