This week, almost every commercial, article, or ad is about Black Friday; deals, steals, who’s open, and who’s not. On top of the “not” list? REI. Yes, REI will once again close its doors on Black Friday. But this year the outdoor retailer will not only close all 149 of its stores on Black Friday and Thanksgiving, but it will also process no online sales and pay all 12,287 employees to take the day off to head outside instead.
One size does not fit all
To some, REI’s decision to close on the biggest shopping day of the year is deemed a noble one. And, specialty retailers have the flexibility to make such a bold move. But is choosing to opt-out a good decision for every player in the retail game?
Not even a little bit.
The fact remains: Black Friday is simply too lucrative a day to pass up for mega retailers like Macy’s, Kohl’s, and Target. Closing for Thanksgiving and Black Friday may be appealing, however, the reality is what REI does in sales in an entire year, many of these major retailers make on Black Friday alone.
The usual response is that big-bag brands are only concerned with their bottom line. Which, for the most part, is true. When the financial crisis hit in 2008, stores lost so much money that shareholders were desperate to solve for their profit problem. As a response, stores began opening on Thanksgiving to jolt Black Friday sales. Wall Street’s expectations are now set, so choosing to remain open on Thanksgiving and during Black Friday weekend is not a decision retailers can easily undo.
The joys of shopping
At the end of the day, these stores are open because people—by the hundreds of thousands—continue to show up and shop. What’s more, for many Americans, steeling themselves for Black Friday has become more than just scoring the sweetest deal—it’s become a family affair and a long-anticipated annual Thanksgiving tradition.
So as you continue to see news around Black Friday this week, no doubt those select retailers choosing to opt out will be applauded for their decision. Their message that family time is more important than a corporate sales boost will resonate with many. However, for most major retailers, you can expect that the sales, doorbuster deals, and early openings will continue for decades to come.
Check out MyTotalRetail.com for a more in-depth look at Black Friday and why it’s here to stay.
Image credit: US-ECONOMY-BLACK FRIDAY by Diariocritico de Venezuela