REI first debuted its Opt Outside campaign in 2015, becoming one of the first major retailers to close its doors on Black Friday. As part of the effort, all employees — across the company’s stores, distribution and call centers, and headquarters — are paid for the day and encouraged to spend time outside instead of going to work.
This year, the outdoor recreation retailer announced it will eschew the shopping holiday for good, after seven consecutive years of opting outside. While the website is still open for online orders, processing and fulfillment is paused until Saturday, according to the company.
“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,” REI President and CEO Eric Artz said in a statement.
He continued: “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 an annual reminder of this commitment to doing the right thing for the co-op community.”