REI CEO Jerry Stritzke says Macy’s decision to open earlier than ever on Thanksgiving reflects poorly on the entire retail industry.
Macy’s is one of a few retailers that have revealed their opening hours during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
The department-store chain will open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to kick off its Black Friday sales.
In an interview with Business Insider, Stritzke called Macy’s decision “very disappointing” and said it “misses the point of what Thanksgiving is about.”
“Retail is tough today, but you have to stand for something – not just just ‘come buy stuff,'” Stritzke said. “I hate to see that kind of decision. I hate to see it for the employees and I hate to see it for the retail industry. I don’t think it serves Macy’s or retail well.”
Macy’s has said it is opening on the holiday in response to “significant, ongoing customer interest in shopping on Thanksgiving.” The company said it would staff its stores with employees who volunteer to work on the holiday and pay them overtime.
Stritzke is an outspoken critic of Black Friday.
This year, REI will again be closing on Black Friday and paying employees for the time off. Stritzke did the same last year so that employees could spend more time with their families.
The retailer has never opened on Thanksgiving.
Stritzke said the decision to close its stores on one of its most high-traffic days “was a big risk and we weren’t quite sure how it would be received.”
Sales dipped over the holiday weekend but later rebounded, and the company was widely praised on social media for its decision.
“We were blown away by how enthusiastic the response was,” Stritzke said. “Obviously we lost sales on Black Friday, which was a very big day for us, but overall it didn’t hurt our trend.”
Many companies are taking a stand against the “holiday creep” by refusing to open stores on Thanksgiving this year, but REI is the only retail chain we know of that will not open on Black Friday.