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REI to close on Black Friday, promoting outdoor activity instead

Published October 27, 2015
UPDATED

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — Outdoor co-op REI will not open its stores on "Black Friday," Nov. 27 this year. Instead of promoting retail consumption on the day after Thanksgiving, REI is channeling the attention the move is getting toward promoting increased outdoor activity that day.

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"On November 27, we'll be closing all 143 of our stores and paying our employees to head outside," REI's president Jerry Stritzke said in a message posted on a new section of the REI website, optoutside.rei.com, launched Monday.

"Here’s why we’re doing it," Stritzke continued. "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."

REI is promoting the idea with the #OptOutside hashtag. The promotion has already got the attention of USA Today and Time.com. 

An REI representative told BRAIN that while REI.com will be operable on Black Friday, it will feature an image encouraging online shoppers to get outside.

"... if they choose to shop online, they can," said REI's Courtney Gearhart. "However, REI will not process orders until Saturday and we will not be promoting any special Black Friday deals for that day. The handful of employees that are here will be given an #OptOutside paid vacation day to take before the end of the year."

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