Patagonia and REI Buck Black Friday Trends While Others Prepare for Sales

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Patagonia Black Friday

American consumers plan to spend on average $935.58 this holiday shopping season, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Nearly six in 10 plan to buy items for themselves, spending an average $139.61, up 4 percent from last year and marking the second-highest level of personal spending in the survey’s 13-year history.

The NRF expects US retail sales in November and December (excluding autos, gas and restaurants) to increase 3.6 percent to $655.8 billion. Online sales are forecast to increase between 7 percent and 10 percent over 2015 to as much as $117 billion.

NRF National Retail Federation Black Friday 2016

Many retailers are already moving full-speed ahead with their Black Friday plans, including Amazon, Target, Walmart and Best Buy. Apple will hold a one-day shopping event this Friday on its website, rejoining the fray that it dropped out of last year.

Meanwhile, bucking the Black Friday commercialism trend altogether, Patagonia will donate 100% of its Black Friday sales—estimated to be upwards of $2 million—to grassroots environmental groups that fight to protect vital natural resources.

The donations will come from sales at its 80 global stores and Patagonia.com on Black Friday and be distributed to a network of nearly 800 organizations in the U.S. and worldwide. Patagonia already donates 1% of its daily global sales to environmental organizations, a total of $7.1 million in its latest fiscal year, but its latest initiative is tied directly to recent events.

“We definitely came up with the idea after the election,” said Lisa Pike Sheehy, VP environmental activism at Patagonia, as reported by CNN. “This is a difficult and divisive time for our country. I believe the environment is something we can all come together on. … Environmental values are something we all embrace.”

REI #OptOutside

And for the second year in a row, REI is closing all of its stores on Black Friday and paying employees for the time off. CEO Jerry Stritzke said they closed stores on Black Friday last year to “put a stake in the ground” and make a statement against the growing trend of retailers kicking off their holiday sales on Thanksgiving Day. “We were blown away by how enthusiastic the response was,” said Stritzke, in Business Insider. “Obviously we lost sales on Black Friday, which was a very big day for us, but overall it didn’t hurt our trend.”

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