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Outdoor retailer REI chooses to 'Opt Outside,' stay closed on Black Friday

The decision was made as part of a push to have both employees and customers spend more time outdoors during the shopping holiday.

SEATTLE — Beginning this Black Friday, all REI locations this year and in the future will be closed as part of a movement the retailer calls "Opt Outside."

REI said in a statement Tuesday that the hope is to encourage customers and more than 16,000 employees to spend more time outdoors, and the co-op is willing to forgo profits to do so. 

This practice isn't new, as REI has shut its doors for the last seven Black Friday holidays. The only difference now is that the policy is permanent. 

"Opt Outside has evolved from a response against consumerism to a movement that has advocated for causes important to the co-op, including environmental welfare, inclusivity in the outdoor industry and responsible recreation," the co-op said in a press release.

According to REI, the original idea behind the Black Friday closure was to prioritize a better experience for their employees and foster an environment that promotes their employees' desire to bask in the outdoors. 

“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," said Eric Artz, President and CEO, REI Co-op. "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.” 

Although the physical buildings will no longer be open on the shopping holiday moving forward, customers will still be able to place online orders via REI's website. 

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