Walmart is wishing its employees a Happy Thanksgiving in July by doing something it hasn't done in decades.
On Tuesday, the company announced that it will be closing stores on Thanksgiving this year for the first time since the 1980s to give its employees the day off to spend with their families. The giant retailer said that its nearly 5,000 U.S. locations will all be closed on Nov. 26. All of its Sam's Clubs locations will also be closed on the federal holiday.
Walmart has not been closed on Thanksgiving since the late 1980s, but Sam's Club has been closed on Thanksgiving since its doors first opened, a Walmart spokesperson confirmed to TODAY. Both stores will have normal hours on Nov. 25. Store hours for Black Friday have not yet been released.
"We know this has been a trying year, and our associates have stepped up. We hope they will enjoy a special Thanksgiving Day at home with their loved ones,” Walmart U.S. president and CEO John Furner said in a statement. “We are certainly thankful to our people for all of their efforts.”
Watch TODAY All Day! Get the best news, information and inspiration from TODAY, all day long.
Furner said in an internal memo sent to employees on Tuesday that the idea to close stores on Thanksgiving came from Kevin Carlyle, an employee at a Walmart in Round Rock, Texas, who suggested it to corporate headquarters.
The company also announced Tuesday that it will pay out cash bonuses of $150 for hourly and temporary employees and $300 for full-time associates on Aug. 20 for those working at stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers who were employed as of July 31. Drivers, managers and assistant managers will also receive a bonus.
Walmart also paid out cash bonuses in April after the start of the pandemic and June.
The latest announcement also comes after Walmart became the largest retailer in the country to mandate that customers wear masks inside all of its stores. The new policy went into effect on Monday after being announced last week.