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Target to Close Stores Early, Mimicking Rival Walmart

By Rich Smith - Mar 18, 2020 at 11:57AM

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Your local Walmart will probably close at 11 p.m., Target at 9 p.m.

The parade of retailers closing their doors early -- or closing their doors entirely -- in the era of coronavirus keeps getting longer.

Two days ago, retail behemoth Walmart (WMT 2.85%) announced that most of its Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will operate only from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. "until further notice," giving up their open-24/7 policy to give their workers more time to stock shelves and disinfect surfaces. Last night, Walmart's brick-and-mortar rival Target (TGT -0.94%) followed suit.

Target bullseye logo

Image source: Target.

Target announced that beginning today, all of its stores will close at 9 p.m. local time, unless they already have posted closing times earlier than 9 p.m. Target stores will continue opening at their regular posted hours.  

On Wednesdays, the first hour after a store opens will be reserved for "vulnerable guests ... including elderly [shoppers] and those with underlying health concerns," the company said in a statement. Target's aim is to reduce contact between potentially sick persons and those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus.

As with Walmart before it, Target explained that the early closings to the public will give Target workers "additional time for cleaning and restocking each day," behind closed doors, likewise reducing the chance of infection. To further protect both its workers and its customers, Target says it will ensure that "guest-facing surfaces like checklanes and touchscreens are cleaned at least every 30 minutes," even during operating hours.

In recent days, other retailers have taken even more drastic measures, with Deckers Brands, Macy's, and Nordstrom, for example, all closing their stores to physical shopping until further notice.

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