REI gives workers the day off on Black Friday
REI was already giving its employees Thanksgiving off. Then management decided that wasn’t enough and gave them Black Friday off as well, with pay.
In a move that is not likely to be repeated by many other retailers, the nation’s largest co-op and specialty outdoor retailer announced the launch of campaign #OptOutside, encouraging Americans to forego shopping for a couple of days and instead spend time with family and friends. A total of 12,000 employees at REI’s 143 stores, headquarters and two distribution centers will be affected by the decision to close on Black Friday.
"Our definition of success goes beyond money. We believe that a life lived outdoors is a life well lived and we aspire to be stewards of our great outdoors," said Jerry Stritzke, president and CEO of REI, in a statement. "We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand and so we are choosing to invest in helping people get outside with loved ones this holiday season, over spending it in the aisles. Please join us and inspire us with your experiences. We hope to engage millions of Americans and galvanize the outdoor community to get outside."
REI has set up an #OptOutside website, optoutside.rei.com, which enables visitors to search for local hiking trails. The site also provides an opportunity for people to share their outdoor experiences with others.
For those wondering whether REI will shut down its e-commerce site on Black Friday, the company has announced it will display a black takeover screen encouraging customers to #OptOutside and shop another time.
While Black Friday is not as important to overall holiday sales as in the past, nearly 87 million people chose to shop on the day last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Black Friday also, according to USA Today, was one of the top 10 busiest days of the year for REI.
- REI Closing its Doors on Black Friday – Invites Nation to OptOutside – REI
- #OptOutside – REI
- REI closing on Black Friday for 1st time in push to #OptOutside – USA Today
What is your reaction to REI’s decision to close on Thanksgiving and Black Friday? Will the move and #OptOutside campaign win or lose REI customers? How will the strategy affect the company’s workforce?