What’s Behind The Black Friday Boycott?

A number of retailers have announced that they will not be participating in Black Friday, but what are the reasons behind such a decision?

Outdoor and apparel retailer REI announced this Monday that it would be closed on Black Friday, potentially losing out on huge sales on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. To underline its opposition to Black Friday, REI also said that it would close its website and encourage workers to get out into the great outdoors, writes Brad Tuttle for Time.

What's Behind The Black Friday Boycott?

Selfless decision or shrewd business move?

The move is not entirely selfless though, as REI is already gaining lots of publicity for the move. It’s not every year that retailers opt out of what has become known as the “Super Bowl of Shopping,” but REI and others may be hoping to benefit in the long run.

Thanksgiving, rather than Black Friday, has traditionally been a day that many businesses close in order to let workers and consumers concentrate on spending time with their families. Now Staples, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco and BJ’s have all released self-congratulatory messages revealing that they will be closed on Thanksgiving, but it seems unlikely that any of the aforementioned stores will miss out on many sales.

GameStop also released a press release a few weeks ago, telling customers it was taking a stand and “doing the right thing to disrupt the emerging trend in the retail industry of taking away holidays from customers and associates.” The thing is that the store has never been open on Thanksgiving.

Retailers playing up to target customers

The decision to close on Thanksgiving or Black Friday is almost certainly part of business strategy as well as an ethical decision. For most of the stores mentioned here, it is unlikely that sales will have been particularly strong, and they stand to gain more by endearing themselves to customers.

In the case of REI, it stands to benefit by encouraging its clientele, who love outdoor pursuits, to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. In other cases, such as one mattress manufacturer that wrote to Time, it looks like they are trying to ride the wave of outrage against businesses that do stay open over the holidays.

Although some businesses will be closed, expect a wave of news reports about massive bargains and injuries to people fighting to take advantage of them.