REI defies the retail status quo by breaking away from decades of holiday shopping traditions.
In a press release, the outdoor gear store announced that it will no longer participate in Black Friday and that all 178 stores will close the day after Thanksgiving.
The brand provides paid time off to all 16,000 employees, including those working at its Seattle headquarters, logistics hub and call center. As part of its ‘Opt Outside’ movement, REI encourages staff to ‘spend time outside instead of shopping’.
Shoppers looking for big savings for the REI holiday season can still place orders on the company’s website, but they won’t be processed or shipped until the next day.
REI first introduced the Opt Outside initiative in 2015 and closes every year on Black Friday. But this year, to fight consumerism and encourage environmental activism, we decided to turn Black Friday into a full-time employee benefit.
REI Co-op President and CEO Eric Artz said in a press release: “When we first introduced the movement, it was considered revolutionary for retail brands, but our members and employees felt it was the right thing to do. It will be an annual reminder of what we are doing, and it is the right thing for the co-op community.”
With 21.1 million members, REI is, according to Artz, “a diverse and vibrant community united by a shared love of time outside.”