In The News


REI Co-Op Invests $270 Million To Global Communities Despite Sales Miss

By Shelley E. Kohan 

REI Co-op has given nearly $270 million back to the co-op community including investments in its employees, nonprofit partners, the planet, and society as a whole. “People here are committed to our work and they want their work to matter. We are very focused on the impact on the world,” said Eric Artz, president and CEO of REI Co-op in a personal interview. The company closed its full fiscal year with sales of $3.8 billion down 2.4% from the previous year and gave back over $200 million to its over 24 million co-op members.

Sales Miss Due To Climate Change

Ironically, the area where REI Co-op focuses much of its attention and effort was the cause of its sales miss. The 2.4% sales decline resulted mostly by an erratic climate in the fourth quarter. “We were well ahead in sales through the first three-quarters of the year, but in the fourth quarter the industry had a tough time overall due to erratic weather patterns,” said Artz. The winter’s unseasonably warm temperatures impacted many retailers. “The fourth quarter of 2023 was the 3rd warmest in 129 years, including the warmest December ever recorded,” said ​​Evan Gold, executive vice president of global partnerships and alliances at Planalytics. Heavy rainfall led to flooding in heavily populated areas along the West Coast, Northeast, and Southeast, limiting store traffic during high-volume shopping periods in December, explained Gold.

The winter categories such as outerwear, gloves, and snow boots experienced significant weather-driven sales declines, according to data from Planalytics. Warmer weather during anticipated cooler months significantly impacts outdoor gear companies like REI Co-op that rely on cold weather to sell winter goods. “Every state in the U.S. had temperatures above (or much above) normal,” said Gold.  . . .

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