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Nation's largest mall to close on Thanksgiving, pay OT on Black Friday

For the second year in a row, Mall of America is giving its employees off on Thanksgiving Day. It's also adding something new.

The 5.6-million-sq.-ft. Mall of America, the largest retail and entertainment destination in North America, is going one step further this year with regards to its employees. After "much consideration," mall management said it is treating Black Friday as a "seventh holiday" for employees that work directly for the mall and Nickelodeon Universe. Mall employees who are eligible and work on Friday, Nov. 24 will receive holiday pay.

"As the busiest day in the retail industry, we believe Mall of America employees dedicating their time on Black Friday should be rewarded with holiday pay," Mall of America executive VP Rich Hoge and senior VP Jill Renslow said in a letter to employees. "We value our employees and understand that you are at the front line of assuring outstanding guest service."

The mall's holiday pay does not impact the employees of the center's 520 stores, restaurants and attractions. But a "fun" holiday addition will be announced in the coming weeks to honor these employees during the month of December, the mall said.

Last year, the megamall had its biggest Black Friday in years, which management attributed to its placing more emphasis on the big shopping day, according to the StarTribune. It did not feel it lost out on sales by being closed on Thanksgiving.

“We heard from many retailers it was the strongest Black Friday they had ever seen,” Renslow said in the report.

Mall of America will open its doors at 5 a.m. on Black Friday, with the first 200 guests in line receiving a Mall of America gift card valued anywhere between $10 - $500.

CBL Properties is also sticking with last year's holiday plan and will close its shopping centers around the country on Thanksgiving. Stores, theaters and restaurants with exterior mall entrances will be given the option to open.

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