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REI Is Forgoing This Retail Tradition Permanently: What Does it Mean for Shoppers and Employees? The retailer is saying "so long" to Black Friday as part of its "Opt Outside" movement.

By Sam Silverman Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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REI is going against the retail status quo as it opts out of a decades-old holiday shopping tradition.

The outdoor-gear store announced in a press release it will no longer be participating in Black Friday, and all of its 178 stores will instead be closed the day after Thanksgiving.

The brand is giving all of its 16,000 employees the day off with pay, including those who work at its Seattle headquarters, distribution locations and call centers. REI is encouraging staffers to "spend time outside rather than shopping" as part of its "Opt Outside" movement.

Shoppers looking for some big REI holiday savings will still be able to place orders on the company's website, but they won't be processed or shipped until the following day.

REI first introduced its Opt Outside initiative in 2015 and has closed its doors on Black Friday on a year-to-year basis. However, this year it decided to make its Black Friday closures a permanent employee benefit to fight consumerism and encourage environmental activism.

"Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees — choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales," Eric Artz, REI Co-op president and CEO, said in the press release. "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. Making Opt Outside an annual observance will serve as a yearly reminder of this commitment to doing the right thing for the co-op community."

REI has 21.1 million members that Artz says are a "diverse and vibrant community that's united by a shared love for time outside."

Sam Silverman

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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