Opting Out of Black Friday

Though it’s not even Halloween, Holiday is peaking it’s little head up in the marketplace. Some stores have begun to stock there Christmas decorations while others are starting to seed holiday recipe ideas or plan what their Black Friday Deals will be. Well, almost all of them.

REI has announced that it is opting out of Black Friday. It will be closing it’s doors (and paying its employees) on Black Friday in a movement to really live its brand truth and encourage it’s employees, shoppers and even other retailers to #optoutside.

This is a controversial but on trend (and on brand) move for the retailer who firmly believes that being outdoors makes your life better. As shoppers shift holiday support to more grass roots efforts like Small Business Saturday it will likely appeal to many shoppers. But what about the devote Black Friday shoppers?

Last year, 86.9 million shoppers were in store or online for Black Friday. But this tradition is dropping in participation. Shopper volume dropped 7% between 2013 and 2014. While Black Friday is declining, over 55% of shoppers are still shopping over Thanksgiving weekend and online sales continue to rise.

So that begs the question. Will it be a profitable (and brand building) move for retailers like REI to ask people to shop on one of the many other days besides Black Friday? Will more retailers “opt out”–especially those who have received negative press in the past for their Black Friday practices?