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10/05/2021

REI to close stores, DCs, HQ on Black Friday for seventh consecutive year

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
Marianne Wilson profile picture
REI will once again close its stores on Black Friday and pay its employees for the day off.

REI is continuing its tradition of paying all employees to get outside on Black Friday.

The outdoor retailer will close its 171 stores, activity centers, distribution centers, call centers and headquarters on Black Friday, November 26. For the seventh year in a row, REI said it will forgo profits and sales on the busiest shopping day of the year, and instead pay its more than 15,000 employees, encouraging them spend the day outdoors with friends and family, using a hashtag campaign called #OptOutside. 

A number of retailers have announced they will close their stores on Thanksgiving Day, including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, The Home Depot, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s among others. But REI, which also shuts the company down for Thanksgiving, is the only major retailer to also go dark on Black Friday.

“The #OptOutside movement is driven by the co-op's desire to inspire REI employees, its 20 million members nationwide and broader society to celebrate the power of time outside and reject the mass consumption and stress that comes with Black Friday,” said Eric Artz, CEO, REI. "As the last year and a half has continued to challenge us all, #OptOutside is a reminder of the importance of community and time outside. What started as a special moment for employees has become a movement for the co-op community to come together and prioritize action on the things that matter most."

REI recently launched the REI Cooperative Action Fund, a community-supported public charity that allows co-op members, employees and the public to contribute and provide financial support to a nationwide network of nonprofit organizations promoting justice, equity and belonging in the outdoors. Through #OptOutside, REI will be highlighting the Fund's inaugural set of grantees and inspiring the broader community to participate.  

“We believe connection to nature is fundamental for the health and well-being of all people and that time outside is a human right,” said Ben Steele, REI chief customer officer. “As a community of millions of members, thousands of employees and hundreds of partners, we are uniquely positioned to drive meaningful change. Through the REI Cooperative Action Fund, we can harness the collective strength of the co-op to ensure that all people have their right to the outdoors protected.”

[Read More: REI taps corporate counsel for new C-level diversity position]

REI is the nation's largest consumer co-op, with more than 20 million members and 171 locations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The company’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities.