Black Friday is one of, if not the, biggest day for many retailers. The day after Thanksgiving always sees hordes of deal-hungry shoppers lining up in malls, department stores and boutiques – looking for an insane deal on a product they may or may not really need. It's as American as credit card debt.
But this year, outdoor clothing and supplies retailer REI won't be participating in the Black Friday tradition. In a bold PR move, the company has announced that it will be closing all 143 of its stores and urging people to get outside instead.
The company is calling it #OptOutside. REI says it'll pay its employees to head outside on Black Friday.
"For 76 years, our co-op has been dedicated to one thing and one thing only: a life outdoors. We believe that being outside makes our lives better. And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth," says REI CEO Jerry Stritzke.
"We're a different kind of company—and while the rest of the world is fighting it out in the aisles, we’ll be spending our day a little differently. We’re choosing to opt outside, and want you to come with us."
The PR move seems to be paying off.
— Julie Zimmerman (@JayZeeCincy) October 27, 2015
Bravo REI. Its high time someone took action on ridiculousness of Thanksgiving sales encroaching TG festivities & family time #OptOutside
— muralikallem (@muralikallem) October 27, 2015
REI is a loyalty brand. #OptOutside is a killer loyalty-building campaign. Looking forward to seeing the impact 6-months out. Nicely done!
— Kevin Shively (@KevinSaysThings) October 27, 2015
— Michael Podraza (@EGHSPrincipalRI) October 27, 2015
— Maggie (McD) Malek (@MagsMac) October 27, 2015
REI isn't just closing its physical stores, it's also shuttering online orders until Saturday. REI is 100% not participating in Black Friday – a "holiday" that sees over 80 million shoppers every year.