Outdoor retail chain announces to keep stores closed on Black Friday 2015.
Seattle based outdoor and sports retailer REI raises eyebrows with the announcement to keep its stores closed on Black Friday 2015.
REI CEO Jerry Stritzke explains the unusual decision in a message:
"On November 27, we'll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside. 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."
This is a refreshing new marketing idea, but does it make sense? Last year REI opened stores for Black Friday sales at 8am on Black Friday. Online Black Friday sales started on Thanksgiving Day and savings included up to 50%.
The Black Friday store opening discussion was so far mostly about wether or not to open on Thanksgiving Day. REI certainly has added a new twist here, but we do not expect any store to follow. The first retailers are already confirmed to open stores on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday sales.
REI employees are the big beneficiary of the REI Black Friday campaign. They get a long Thanksgiving weekend off and even get the Friday paid. We expect that REI will offer an online Black Friday 2015 sale though.
REI will likely not completely opt out of Black Friday. Online sales are growing constantly and the National Retail Federation latest survey says that 46% of consumers plan to shop Black Friday online. The outdoor store chain has not yet unveiled any details about the online store plan for Black Friday.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 140 stores in 33 states and 12,000 employees.
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REI has setup a page for the #OPTOUTSIDE campaign here.