REI lays off 8% of HQ employees


REI has laid off 167 employees at its corporate headquarters, citing “increasing uncertainty” and the need to return to profitability.

President and CEO Eric Artz said in a letter to employees on Tuesday that the layoffs affected 8% of the co-headquarters op’s workforce and less than 1% of its total headcount.

REI made the switch to remote work in 2020, so there is no single headquarters location. The cooperative has locations in Issaquah, Seattle, and Sumner.

“We have clear goals for the future of the co-op and are confident in our long-term strategies,” Artz wrote. “But in the face of increasing uncertainty, we need to sharpen our focus on the most critical investments and areas of work to best serve our members and grow the co-op over the long term.”

REI is making “organizational changes” at its headquarters in order to accomplish this, including reducing headcount and reorganizing and combining several divisions. REI will “align” around a few strategic priorities in the coming year, according to Artz, to ensure the co-op is making the best use of its resources and focusing its work on the customer and member experience.

REI has expanded its leadership team over the last year and a half, adding new positions such as chief supply chain officer and chief commercial officer for the first time. According to REI’s annual report, the cooperative will invest $128.9 million in employee profit sharing, retirement, and performance incentives in 2021.

Those affected by job cuts Tuesday will receive severance packages, 4 months of COBRA health care coverage, pay for remaining vacation time and 2022 bonuses, and outplacement assistance in finding a new job.

REI reported $3.7 billion in revenue, up 36% from the previous year, and net income of $97.7 million in 2021, the most recent financial data available.

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