Retailers Opting Out on Black Friday

Retailers Opting Out on Black Friday

Family Time is the Better Deal This Holiday

After years of Black Friday’s start time creeping further and further back into Thanksgiving, more and more retailers are opting for passing on offering the American pastime of getting a killer deal over the values of family time on the beloved family holiday.

Mall of America announced it would close on Thanksgiving as well as CBL & Associates, which oversees 73 malls nationwide, said it’s shutting down its shopping centers for the holiday, opening the next morning at 6 a.m.

Meanwhile most retailers are hoping to take advantage of bargain hunters, Macy’s is holding firm on its decision  on Thanksgiving day and will be greeting customers an hour earlier than they did in 2015.

“In response to significant, ongoing customer interest in shopping on Thanksgiving, both at Macy’s and at many other retailers, we will be opening our full-line department stores at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day,” says spokeswoman Holly Thomas.

Outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI for the second year in a row is choosing to close its door on Turkey Day. The Seattle-based retailer on Monday announced that it would again close all 149 of its stores on both Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It would also process no online sales on Black Friday and pay all 12,287 employees to take the day off.

Taking it one step further, like last year, the REI is again encouraging both the company’s employees and its shoppers to not spend money on presents that day, but instead to go outside and make memories with their loved ones. The movement even has a social-media hashtag: #OptOutside. The hashtag generated some serious buzz, resulting in 1.4 million people to pledge to #OptOutside and generate a more impressive 1.2 billion social impressions, REI claims.

REI’s “Opt Outside” movement comes at a time when brick-and-mortar retailers and mall operators are trying to determine if it’s better to stay open on Thanksgiving to stay competitive with e-commerce competition, or instead just open on Black Friday— which was, until recent years, the official kick off of the holiday shopping season.

According to a survey by, a site that features Black Friday deals and trends, most Americans don’t plan to shop on the Thanksgiving holiday.

The site’s poll, surveyed 502 U.S. adults and found 54% dislike or strongly dislike stores remaining open on Thanksgiving, with 60% saying they won’t step a foot in a store that day.

With a few years of Thanksgiving Day shopping data in hand, retailers largely believed opening on the holiday, diluted Black Friday sales rather than adding to them, spreading the same amount of shopping over an added day, CBL CEO Stephen Lebovitz told Fortune.  Sales on the actual Black Friday numbers dipped slightly, he said, while Thursday and Friday’s combined numbers were “almost equivalent.”

While most retailers won’t close its doors on Thanksgiving Day, REI CEO Jerry Stritzke told Fortune , that he likes the idea that there is a growing conversation about being open on the holiday, he said, “A part of me is hoping that the vast majority of retailer pulls back from invading that holiday day.”

Check out REI’s #OptOutside ad: