Walmart cuts Christmas Eve hours

Walmart announced Tuesday that it will scale back its hours on Christmas Eve so employees can spend more time with their families.

FILE - In this May 9, 2013, file photo, a worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Wal-Mart store in La Habra, Calif. Wal-Mart will now let you pay with your phone at all 4,600 stores nationwide. With Walmart Pay, the cashier scans a QR code on the phone screen to complete the payment. The effort is part of Wal-Mart's overall strategy to making shopping easier and faster. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

FILE – In this May 9, 2013, file photo, a worker pushes shopping carts in front of a Wal-Mart store in La Habra, Calif. Wal-Mart will now let you pay with your phone at all 4,600 stores nationwide. With Walmart Pay, the cashier scans a QR code on the phone screen to complete the payment. The effort is part of Wal-Mart’s overall strategy to making shopping easier and faster. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The company said it plans to close its stores at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve – two hours earlier than in previous years.

“Our associates work hard all year to make this Holiday season special for our customers, and we truly appreciate what they do every day,” Judith McKenna, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Walmart’s U.S. unit, said in a prepared statement released by the company. “We also know that getting home on Christmas Eve to spend time with families is important. That’s why this year we’ll be closing at 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.”

Walmart employees more than 2 million associates worldwide.