MYNORTHWEST NEWS

REI loses $311M in 2023, second year in a row it failed to turn a profit

May 1, 2024, 5:34 PM | Updated: May 2, 2024, 6:24 am

rei...

Exterior of an REI store on January 25, 2022. (Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

(Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

Following a tumultuous year that included layoffs and operations restructuring, REI announced it lost $311 million in 2023.

The Seattle-founded outdoor equipment retailer reported its revenue was $3.76 billion, down 2.4% from the previous year.

More on REI: Seattle-area layoffs include Microsoft, REI starting 2024 with workforce reductions

It was “a deeply disappointing result,” CEO Eric Artz wrote in a letter to the company’s employees Tuesday.

Artz stated it was the second year in a row that the company failed to turn a profit.

REI’s solution is to improve the efficiency of its operations while also opening new stores around the country. REI operates more than 180 stores in 42 states and the District of Columbia and has around 15,000 employees.

Last year REI opened a fourth distribution center in Tennessee to curb the company’s supply chain problems.

“Organizations just need to be more flexible, more nimble, more adaptable to whatever the market conditions might bring or geopolitical impacts that we might have to deal with,” Artz said Monday in an interview with The Seattle Times. “And that’s what we’re doing.”

According to The Seattle Times, REI said last year’s loss was largely driven by increases in hourly wages for employees and REI’s commitment to return a portion of its earnings to members. The cash payments to members totaled $200 million last year.

More on Seattle business: No more freebies as Costco cracks down on food court access

REI let go of 357 employees in January, with 200 of the layoffs belonging to roles within the company’s headquarters, while 121 of the jobs lost were at distribution centers. Thirty jobs were organizing trips and classes and six were in various sales and customer service departments. That pushed REI’s total layoffs to around 632 jobs, including nearly 194 in Washington, in the last six months.

“We let go of a lot of good people,” Artz told employees in a January announcement. “We’re going to do everything we can to support them, but that will not make this moment any easier.”

Contributing: The Seattle Times

Frank Sumrall is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here and you can email him here.

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REI loses $311M in 2023, second year in a row it failed to turn a profit