It seems that the U.S. sports giant REI will not be opening its doors for the Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving this year. This cements a trend the store has been trialling for years as REI has decided it will close its 178 stores, distribution locations, call centres and headquarters on Black Friday every year from now on. The company will pay its 16,000 employees to spend the day outside, not shopping.
REI became famous for going against the norm by staying closed on Black Friday during the most popular years of the shopping event, although this was not a countrywide policy until now. While REI will continue to provide Black Friday shopping options on its website, these orders will not be fulfilled until the following day.
Many Gen Z shoppers have already made it clear that they will not participate in the type of consumerism that was so common for millennials, making Black Friday less popular than at its height. With pressure worldwide to curb fast fashion and other capitalist trends, other brands are getting on board with the REI approach.
The CEO of REI, Eric Artz, explains that the company’s ‘Opt-Outside’ scheme “has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees, choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales.” And “When we first introduced this movement, it was considered revolutionary for a retail brand, but we felt it was the right thing to do for our members and employees,” he added. The question now is whether other brands will follow suit.