Unless you live under a (very isolated) rock, you’ve noticed the swelling crowds in the places you play outside. REI’s financial report for 2021 is a clear sign of growing interest in the outdoors.
In documents released April 12, REI Co-op reported that it made $3.7 billion in revenue in 2021. That’s a 20% increase from 2019 and a 36% hike from 2020.
The Co-op also reported its strongest new membership numbers and turned a record profit after losing money in 2020. If REI is a bellwether for the outdoor industry, the swelling numbers mirror the growing crowds in the great outdoors.
REI ended 2021 flush after finishing 2020 with a COVID-suppressed $1.33 billion in revenue. It also turned in a tidy $97.7 million profit, which helped the co-op after a $34 million reported loss the previous year.
Its 1.4 million new members helped, along with 20.1 million others registered before 2021.
REI Gives Half of Profits Back
It’s worth noting that REI made its money without keeping everything for itself or its C-suite executives. The co-op estimated it distributed a record $234 million in member rewards, more than doubling the 2020 figure.
Its $128.9 million investment in employee profit-sharing, retirement, and performance incentives more than tripled the 2020 number. And it invested another $7.1 million in over 400 nonprofit partners “working to address industry inequities and protect the planet.”
REI said it channeled more than half its profits back to members, employees, and nonprofits.
A $30 million investment in 300 founders of color starting outdoor-focused businesses highlighted a slew of equity and inclusivity measures.
And the co-op reported that a substantial purchase of over 257,000 metric tons of CO2 “fully offset” its operational emissions. It included credits from forestry projects in North America to cookstove projects in Uganda. A new circularity program, Re/Supply, also seeks to help lower its resource footprint.
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“2021 was a historic year for the co-op,” said Eric Artz, president and CEO of REI Co-op. “Our co-op team and our partners rose to meet every challenge, from the ongoing pandemic to persistent supply chain disruptions, working together toward a common vision. Our members continued to turn to REI to help support the desire to spend more time outside. And their loyalty to our business enables us to continue investing in the communities we serve.”
REI’s full financial report, including audited financial statements, executive compensation, and more, is available here.