Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Open or Closed On Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

Bucking the retail trend, REI is purposely closing on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that traditionally serves as the kickoff to serious holiday shopping. Above is its announcement, shown on its home page.

Other retailers are resisting the competitive urge to open on Thanksgiving. In some years, the trend toward store openings on Thanksgiving sparked a bit of a consumer backlash, but online retailers recognize that shopping takes place any time, anywhere, and that's what store retailers are up against.

As of October 28, here are some of the highlights of who's doing what on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
  • REI has announced it will not only be closed for Black Friday, it wants to encourage customers and employees to enjoy nature with its #OptOutside campaign. An REI exec explains: "This is a unique moment to extend that period of thanks and really be thankful for all that the outdoor world gives to us." You can see the CEO talking about this decision here. Oh, and REI's employees will be paid for Black Friday.
  • Costco, Nordstrom, and TJ Maxx will remain closed on Thanksgiving but will welcome shoppers on Black Friday. 
  • Staples was open on some previous Thanksgivings but not this year. Black Friday (starting at 6 am) is time enough to pick up a new printer or toner cartridge or whatever.
  • GameStop is closed on Thanksgiving. But if you want to line up for Black Friday specials, the doors open at 5 am on Friday.
  • Dollar General will open at 7 am on Thanksgiving (and, for the holiday, close 2 hours earlier than usual).
Will REI's new movement encourage consumers to change their behavior on one of the busiest shopping days of the year? Maybe not, but #OptOutside is a fresh message and puts a halo around the brand to boot.

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