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REI is defying Black Friday and closing its stores for the 5th year in a row a?? and it wants shoppers to join its plan to fight climate change

REI is defying Black Friday and closing its stores for the 5th year in a row a?? and it wants shoppers to join its plan to fight climate change
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REI is closing on Black Friday for the fifth year in a row, and it's encouraging shoppers and employees to sign up for a 52-week action plan of "small steps" to curb carbon emissions and live more energy-efficient lives.




"The next generation of people who love the outdoors may not have an outdoors to love in the same way," Ben Steele, REI's chief customer officer, told Business Insider. "That's absolutely an existential risk for our business, but more than that, it's an existential risk for our purpose and our passion."




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Five years ago, REI's chief customer officer Ben Steele joined colleagues at a table, spitballing around Black Friday campaign ideas, when a novel idea arose: What if they just closed up shop altogether?
"It's easy to lose sight of now, but going back five years, it was a big risk," Steel told Business Insider. "People thought we were crazy and retailers were saying, 'Why the hell would you give up one of the busiest shopping days of the year?' To be really transparent, we didn't know if it would work. We really focused on our employees."
Ultimately the risk paid off, and the REI team found that much to their surprise, the massive anti-shopping effort seemed to resonate for both consumers and retail workers who had grown weary of Black Friday. What had initially been intended as a "galvanizing moment" for REI employees had evolved into a larger cultural movement, Steele said.
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