Outdoor apparel and recreational gear retailer REI has decided to buck industry trends by shutting its doors for Black Friday. On Nov. 27, REI will close all 143 of its stores and give its 12,000 employees a paid day off.
The retailer made the announcement through its web site and launched the social media hashtag #OptOutside to promote spending time outdoors instead. The #OptOutside campaign has a web site of its own, which includes a zip code search feature that directs users to nearby outdoor hotspots, as well as an area where consumers to share images of their Black Friday activity.
“For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors,” said Jerry Stritzke, President and CEO of REI. “We believe that being outside makes our lives better, and Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth.”
REI will have no Black Friday promotions and won’t process any online orders until Saturday, Nov. 28.
While some retailers have refused to open on Thanksgiving, the Black Friday closing is unprecedented given that the day is one of the highest selling shopping days every year, and is traditionally the start of the holiday season.
“Any retailer that hears this will be startled by the idea,” Stritzke said in an interview with USA Today. “As a co-op… we define success a little differently. It’s much broader than just money. How effectively do we get people outside?”