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REI Stores Will Close on Black Friday So People Can Spend Time Outdoors

The outdoor gear chain REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) thinks people should spend more time actually enjoying the outdoors, even if that means spending less time shopping. The chain has announced a somewhat unprecedented move: It’s closing all of its 140+ stores on Black Friday—traditionally one of the biggest retail shopping days of the year—asking customers and employees to do something outside instead. The idea is part of a campaign REI has launched to get people to use #OptOutside on social media the day after Thanksgiving, to show them doing actual outdoor activities on their day off, instead of just walking around through stores. They’ve even launched a website showcasing local hiking trails to check out on Black Friday.

The company’s CEO explained to USA Today, “The thing that is powerful to me is this clearly is not a financially self-serving act. It’s an act where we’re really making a very clear statement about a set of values.”

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