REI Will Be Closed on Black Friday Again This Year

The store is making it a tradition to stay closed on the biggest shopping day of the year.

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Today, REI's CEO Jerry Stritzke told The Associated Press that the outdoor gear retailer would remain closed the day after Thanksgiving again this year.

The store is thus giving its 12,000 employees a paid day off and encouraging them and potential shoppers to do something active outside on Black Friday instead of shopping. And while customers can place orders online on the company's website, they will not be processed until operations resume.

"We recognized the opportunity we had as a co-op to lead with our values, and do the right thing for our 12,000 employees," Stritzke stated in an email. "We got to send an important message that we'd rather invite people to go outside with us rather than be fighting it out in the aisles."

REI's Black Friday Closing Is Favorably Received by Shoppers

REI, which was ranked #26 in Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list, also gives its employees two "Yay Days" off per year on which they are paid to go outside and use the stuff the company sells.

Shoppers will be able to purchase items on REI's website on Black Friday, but the orders won't be processed until operations resume.

The company garnered a lot of publicity last year when they closed for Black Friday amidst a backlash against the growing trend of retailers opening on Thanksgiving and forcing its employees to work instead of spending the holiday with their families. REI's #OptOutside hashtag generated 1.2 billion social impressions.

More Stores Are Changing Their Hours This Year

Last year, Office Depot and hhgregg were both open on Thanksgiving, but this year they will close for the holiday — though they both will open their doors bright and early the next day. And Mall of America, the nation's largest shopping mall, will be closed on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2012.

But REI, which has 149 locations, is one of the only stores to forego Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year. Meanwhile, others, like struggling department store chain Macy's, will open even earlier this year on Thanksgiving.

SEE ALSO: Thanksgiving & Black Friday 2016 Store Hours: Know When to Go!

REI has disclosed that in years when it was open for Black Friday, the day was one of its five busiest of the year. However, experts don't foresee skipping Black Friday as a strategy that will knock the retailer off its course of approximately a 7% increase in sales this year. Stritzke told Fortune that he hopes to make being closed on Black Friday a tradition, and while his competitors are busy at work, plans to spend the day off with his grandson.

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Stephen Slaybaugh
DealNews Contributing Writer

Stephen has been writing for such national and regional publications as The Village Voice, Paste, The Agit Reader, and The Big Takeover for 20 years. He covered consumer electronics and technology for DealNews from 2013 to 2018.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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