Today, leading outdoor retailer REI announced that it is sharing more than ever with the outdoor community through its annual dividend, returning $168 million to its members1. In 2014, 945,000 new members joined the co-op, taking active membership to a high of 5.5 million. The co-op reported record annual revenues of $2.2 billion, a 9.9 percent increase from 2013. As part of its mission to give back to the outdoor community, REI will invest almost $8 million in non-profits and new projects to create access to inspirational outdoor places.
“Joining REI has transformed my view of business. We aim for steady growth so that we can invest in the outdoors. That’s a powerful formula that encourages us to think and act long-term,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO. “I love being part of the co-op because success for us means giving back to the outdoor community and helping people live life outside.”
Mary and Lloyd Anderson founded REI in 1938 to bring high quality, good value gear to their mountaineering friends. Today, REI is the nation’s largest consumer co-op with 5.5 million active members. With a one-time $20 investment, anyone is a member for life. When the co-op performs well, active members receive an annual 10 percent dividend, based on their eligible annual purchases.
Stritzke continued, “Our momentum reflects the appeal of life outdoors. We have focused hard on giving our members great gear and expertise. Our stores and digital business are doing well, demand for experiences and adventures is up and we are saying a big thank you by investing more in the work our non-profit partners do for our members and the outdoor community.”
REI invests in its local communities through non-profit partnerships that create access to inspiring outdoor places. In 2015, the co-op will invest $5.9 million in the work they do. In addition, large one-time grants from The REI Foundation will bring the total philanthropic investment to almost $8 million, an all-time high and close to double the investment in 2014. Foundation grants will focus on helping diverse audiences and young people enjoy the outdoors. The first, a multi-year Mary Anderson Legacy Grant to advance women leaders in the industry, was announced in January and 25 CEOs have since joined REI in a pledge to advance women leaders in the outdoor industry. Additional grants will be announced in the coming weeks.
The co-op reported that comparable store sales, which include direct to consumer sales, increased by 4.2 percent. REI Adventures grew by 19.4 percent in 2014, bringing thousands of travelers to unforgettable iconic places. REI Outdoor School grew by 28 percent in 2014 through in-store classes, field programs and day outings. Thousands of free and low-cost unique classes and outings are held across the country to help people get ready for their outdoor adventures.
New Own-Brand Products
Last fall, the new “REI Co-op” brand was introduced, exclusive to REI. The first products were high-quality, lightweight, colorful down jackets and vests at affordable prices. Sales exceeded $1 million in less than 20 days. Later this year, REI will introduce a deeper collection of “REI Co-op” products that celebrate the company’s history.
New Leading Partners
REI partners with many other leading brands to offer exclusive gear to its customers. Through an exclusive partnership for the United States, REI now sells premium high-performance bicycles from the leading German manufacturer across its entire fleet. GHOST-brand bikes were introduced online and in REI stores in late February. Since then, interest has been high and new displays in the Seattle flagship store, for example, have helped to showcase the new range.
Getting More People Outside
Seven stores opened in 2014, including Fairbanks, Alaska; Flagstaff, Arizona; Knoxville, Tennessee; Salem-Keizer, Oregon; Southlake, Texas and two stores in Columbus, Ohio. As of year-end 2014, REI operated 138 stores in 33 states. This spring, REI opened in Alpharetta, Georgia and Princeton, New Jersey, and relocated its Dallas store.
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 5.5 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips and outstanding customer service. REI has 140 stores in 33 states. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI’s Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.