Malls are closing for Thanksgiving, but what about their stores?

Customers' frustration with retailers opening on Thanksgiving has reached a boiling point this season, with dozens of malls across the country closing for the holiday. 

Jim Mone/AP/File
The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

Consumers' frustration with retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day to launch their Black Friday sales has been building for several years. Now, the tide may finally be turning. 

CBL & Associates to close 73 malls on Thanksgiving Day.

Much is being made of CBL & Associates' decision to close 73 of its 89 mall properties on Thanksgiving Day, especially as it comes on the heels of a similar announcement from Mall of America. According to CNBC, the closures will give roughly 1,500 mall employees nationwide and between 750 and 2,000 retail employees per property the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their friends and families. Some rough math puts the estimated number of workers with the day off somewhere around 100,000.

"We think that for our employees and for the store employees, they deserve the day off and to be able to spend the day with their families," CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz told CNBC. "Thanksgiving is a special holiday, and it's unfair for them not to be able to enjoy it like everyone else can."

It's the first time since 2012 that CBL properties will be closed for the entirety of Thanksgiving Day.

In 2015, most CBL properties stayed closed throughout the day, but opened for the start of evening sales at 6pm, then closing again at midnight, citing a lack of foot traffic once the early evening doorbuster sales expired and fewer retailers expressed any interest in staying open later.

What's really behind Thanksgiving mall closures?

One major reason that retailers and mall operators are feeling more comfortable with closing on Thanksgiving is that more and more promotions are available before the holiday, and more doorbusters are now available online. As much as shoppers cheer these closures, the capitulation is less driven by a desire to appease the angry mob than it is an acknowledgement that, to put it bluntly, closing on Thanksgiving simply is not hurting their holiday sales figures anymore.

The malls close, but the stores don't always follow suit.

While the proliferation of mall closures does put pressure on the smaller retailers who rely on foot traffic inside the mall, the big box and departments stores that typically anchor malls often have their own separate entrances and are unlikely to budge. Shoppers hoping that major players like TargetWalmartBest Buy andKohl's will retreat to Black Friday are likely to be disappointed.

Check out our comprehensive 2016 Black Friday Guide to keep up on the latest news, deals, and ads you actually care about, including The Master List of Stores Staying Closed on Thanksgiving.

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.

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