Some shoppers live for Black Friday deals, especially when it comes to stocking up on discounted gear for Winter activities. If you have your eyes set on a pair of skis or snowboarding pants, however, don't even think about buying them at REI. The outdoor equipment company announced it will be closing down all of its 143 stores on Black Friday but will still pay all 12,000 full- and part-time employees. The move comes as part of the company's #optoutside initiative, which encourages everyone to spend the day outdoors instead of duking it out for products in stores.
"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," Jerry Stritzke, the president and CEO, said. "And Black Friday is the perfect time to remind ourselves of this essential truth."
While the stores will be closed, you'll still be able to place orders on REI's website, although the company will try to divert buyers with a cover screen to encourage them to spend the day outdoors. And while most retailers are tracking their profits from Black Friday sales, the CEO said he's not worried about REI losing much money on this day. The company, unlike most, doesn't have shareholders and is a "consumer co-op," meaning REI has member customers who pay a one-time fee and get back an annual dividend.
The focus, Jerry added, is to bring in new, passionate members rather than compete for holiday bargain hunters.