On Monday, Washington-based outdoor retailer REI announced its store hours for this year’s Black Friday and they may surprise you: All 143 of its stores will be closed on Nov. 27. The day after Thanksgiving is notoriously the biggest shopping day of the year for Americans feeling the warm breath of the holiday season on the back of their necks. Elmo dolls won’t buy themselves after all.
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke laid out the company’s reasoning for bucking the trend in a letter posted on its website:
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. 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.
“We think that Black Friday has gotten out of hand,” Stritzke told CNN. “You need people to go to the mountain, you need people to catch that outdoor bug.” The company will be shutting its doors, but it will be a paid holiday for its 12,000 full-time and part-time employees. Stritzke says closing on Black Friday, which consistently comes in as one of the company’s biggest sales days of the year, will affect the bottom line, especially considering only 20 percent of REI’s sales are online. Even for online customers, the message is the same: Go outside. REI says it won’t be offering any Black Friday deals to lure shoppers and won’t process any orders until the following day.