Shaking up the system

In 2015, Rei closed all of its stores the day after Thanksgiving, widely considered to be the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. Traditionally, this is the day when retailers move from losses (red) to profit (black) – hence the name Black Friday, and the aggressive competition for consumer dollars. For retailers, closing shop on this day is considered insane.

But REI didn’t think it was insane at all. In fact, they went a step further and didn’t process any online orders either. Instead of a big sales push, REI is encouraging people to...wait for it…go outside. And then they’re asking people to share their experiences with #OptOutside. Yes, this is one day, but it sends a clear signal about the company’s priorities. This is one of the gutsiest moves we’ve seen a retail company make in pursuit of its mission. 

The move certainly didn’t seem to hurt REI’s financial performance. In fact, the company reported record annual revenues that year.