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Office Depot to close for Thanksgiving

NEW YORK (AP) – Office Depot Inc. says it will close its stores for Thanksgiving, after three years of being open on the turkey feast.

The Boca Raton, Florida-based office supplies chain said Thursday it reached the decision after weighing both business and personal factors.

“As we evaluated our store hours for this holiday and weighed the business and personal considerations, we decided it was best to provide our associates with the day off to spend time with family and friends,” said Troy Rice, chief operating officer of North America for Office Depot in a statement.

In 2013, Office Depot opened most of its stores from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. And for the past two years, the chain had been open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the turkey feast. It said that online shoppers can buy deals online on Thanksgiving, but the stores will reopen this year on Black Friday at 6 a.m.

The Friday after Thanksgiving had long served as the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. But over the past several years, Thanksgiving has become the new tradition amid increasing competition from online retailers. The move has been controversial as many workers have complained that stores are putting their profits over workers’ time with their families. The dynamics are changing now given a tighter labor market. And stores are also seeing that they’re not getting a significant sales bump by opening an extra day over the holiday weekend since sales are being spread out throughout the week.

Office Depot’s decision comes after the Mall of America and electronics chain hhgregg Inc. announced they would close for Thanksgiving, reversing several years of opening that day. Mall operator CBL & Associates Properties Inc. said Wednesday it will be closing most of its 89 shopping centers for Thanksgiving. However, department stores, movie theaters, restaurants and retailers with exterior mall entrances will have the option to open their stores on Thanksgiving.

The big question is what major anchors like Macy’s and Kohl’s will do this holiday season. Many of them have not revealed their plans for the Thanksgiving weekend.