Black Friday is the most critical shopping day of the year for most retailers.
Companies like Walmart, Amazon, Target, and others spend all year gearing up for the day-long shopping frenzy, which falls on the day after Thanksgiving every year.
One company refuses to take part in the Black Friday tradition, however.
For the second year in a row, REI is closing all of its stores on Black Friday and paying employees for the time off.
The company’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke, said he initially closed stores on Black Friday last year because he wanted to “put a stake in the ground” and make a statement against the growing trend of retailers kicking off their holiday sales on Thanksgiving Day.
“I was looking at the chaos of Black Friday and how more and more stores were opening on Thanksgiving and it just didn’t feel right,” Stritzke said in an interview with Business Insider.
REI has never opened on Thanksgiving. But Stritzke started thinking the retailer’s stores shouldn’t even be open on Black Friday so his employees could spend more time with their families.
The decision to close REI’s stores on one of its most high-traffic days “was a big risk and we weren’t quite sure how it would be received,” he said.
Sales dipped over the holiday weekend but later rebounded, and the company was widely praised on social media for its decision.
“We were blown away by how enthusiastic the response was,” Stritzke said. “Obviously we lost sales on Black Friday, which was a very big day for us, but overall it didn’t hurt our trend.”
Many companies are taking a stand against the “holiday creep” by refusing to open stores on Thanksgiving this year, but REI is the only retail chain we know of that will not open on Black Friday.
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