REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.), a national retailer of quality outdoor gear and apparel, today announced 2011 sales of $1.80 billion, up 8.4 percent from $1.66 billion the previous year. Operating income was $116.2 million, down slightly from $116.6 million in 2010. Net income was $30.2 million, relatively flat to 2010. As the country’s largest consumer cooperative with a significant membership base, REI welcomed nearly 842,000 new members in 2011, up 7 percent from 2010.
“We experienced strong sales in 2011. However, because winter weather failed to arrive, our profitability was impacted,” said Brian Unmacht, REI’s executive vice president. “Looking ahead, our underlying strong financial position allows us to continue our growth plans and invest in ways that make it easy for customers and members to shop REI however they wish – online, on the go or in one of our stores.”
While anyone can shop with REI, the company shares its profits with its members through an annual patronage refund in proportion to their eligible purchases. Based on the co-op’s 2011 performance, $99.8 million in patronage refunds will be distributed to 4.7 million active members in March. In addition, REI Visa card holders will receive $37.4 million in rebates from purchases made with their REI Visa cards last year. As a result, more than $137.2 million will be returned to REI members, an all-time high.
The co-op’s financial performance also benefits the communities where it has a presence. Last year, REI invested $4.48 million in national and community-based nonprofit organizations focused on engaging volunteers in conserving local natural spaces. In addition, REI granted $500,000 to the REI Foundation, an independent 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization established by the co-op in 1993. The Foundation supports efforts to increase diversity and youth participation in the outdoors.
REI also shares its profits with employees in recognition of their contributions to the company’s annual performance. The 2012 distribution includes $14.9 million in performance incentives and a $13.2 million contribution for retirement and profit sharing. The retirement and profit sharing distribution equates to a 7 percent contribution of eligible employees’ base salary.
The Co-op Continues to Grow
By year-end 2011, REI operated 122 stores in 29 states. Of the eight stores opened last year, five were located on the East Coast, including Paramus, N.J.; Carle Place, Manhattan and Yonkers, N.Y., and Greenville, S.C. REI’s new SoHo store in the iconic Puck Building serves as the keystone for the company’s six Tri-State locations in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Other new stores opened in 2011 were Dublin and Santa Barbara, Calif., and Olympia, Wash.
The company plans to open five stores this year, including Indianapolis, Ind.; Cincinnati, Ohio; San Antonio, Texas; Medford, Ore.; and Woodbridge, Va. The company will also relocate its Cary, N.C store to a larger location.
FORTUNE magazine has ranked REI as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America for 15 consecutive years, and it currently holds the number eight spot on the 2012 list – its highest-ever placement. The company’s exclusive in-house REI brand earned recognition from key reviewers, including Camping Life magazine’s “2011 Editors’ Choice” for the REI Kingdom Sleeping Bag and Health magazine’s “2011 Gear of the Year” for REI’s Airflyte running jacket in the best workout jacket category. Backpacker magazine and SNEWS named REI a “2011 Retailer of the Year” for the online retailer category.
REI is a national outdoor retailer co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality outdoor equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.
EDITOR’S NOTE: REI’s condensed consolidated balance sheets and statements of income for 2011 and 2010 can be viewed at http://www.rei.com/about-rei/financial-information.html.