The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday always falls on the fourth Thursday of November, and has traditionally held back holiday Christmas shopping until "Black Friday" sales the next day. A variety of retailers, including Kmart, Macys, Sears, Target Toys R Us and WalMart, have recently made plans to open on Thanksgiving in order to capitalize on holiday crowds.
Last year, only three Apple Stores heavily trafficked by tourists opened on Thanksgiving: locations on the Las Vegas Strip, Waikiki Beach in Hawaii and the company's 24/7 Fifth Avenue store in New York City.
A series of other flagship Apple Retail stores were also planned to open on Thanksgiving this year, including select additional locations in San Francisco, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Honolulu, Miami, San Diego and Portland.
An expansion of store openings this year was reportedly lobbied by retail Marketing Directors who argued "the company was missing out on substantial holiday sales," according to a posting by IFOAppleStore.
"Market Directors were reportedly motivated by large potential holiday-quarter bonuses based on performance targets, adding to their $400,000 salaries. The last calendar quarter at Apple retail is always the busiest and generates the most revenue, leading to the largest bonuses," the site noted.
"I'd also like to thank Apple's many talented employees who have worked tirelessly to bring us this far and who are passionately focused on making great products that enrich people's lives" - Tim Cook
While some attempts were being made to account for the extra holiday hours by providing workers alternative time off, Cook acted to cancel the plans "over the objections of Market Directors," and keep those stores closed over Thanksgiving so that employees could spend the holidays with their families.
Apple joins other retailers, including Costco and Nordstrom, who have preferred to give employees the holiday off rather than seeking to cash in on early crowds.
Retail Stores are an increasingly significant part of Apple's business, but the company makes the majority of its money from hardware sales, most of which are sold by other retailers, including those who are keeping their stores open on Thanksgiving.
Cook can't be too concerned about Apple's sales during the holiday quarter, having already envisioned the coming of "an iPad Christmas" during the company's most recent earnings conference call. And despite earning more than any other consumer electronics company, Cook paired that comment with the importance of also acting as "a force for good in the world."
Cook also specifically credited Apple's employees for their "tireless" work in his concluding remarks, stating, "I'd like to thank all of our customers and our long term shareholders for their loyalty, and I'd also like to thank Apple's many talented employees who have worked tirelessly to bring us this far and who are passionately focused on making great products that enrich people's lives."