REI Co-op today announced that it hit $3.7 billion in sales in 2021, marking an increase of 36% over 2020.
The retailer said it achieved a net income of $97.7 million in 2021.
As a cooperative, REI’s business is partly owned by its employees, producers and members. As such, $128.9 million was distributed to employees’ profit sharing, retirement and performance programs. Overall, the company gave more than half of its profits back to members, employees and nonprofit partners. REI distributed $234 million in member rewards and invested $7.1 million in more than 450 nonprofit partners that address industry inequities and sustainability.
REI also added 1.4 million new members in 2021, bringing the total number to over 21.5 million members.
“2021 was an historic year for the co-op,” said REI Co-op president and CEO Eric Artz. “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.”
In 2021, REI opened eight new stores across seven states.
REI also released its 2021 Impact Report, which analyzes the company’s growth as a business in tandem with its impact on environmental and social causes. REI, which prioritizes diversity, inclusion and belonging both in the outdoor industry and beyond, outlined some of its achievements in this realm in 2021.
In April of 2021, REI launched its Cooperative Action Network, a grassroots advocacy resource that helps members use their voices to have an impact on policies and legislation related to outdoors. In October 2021, REI launched Path Ahead Ventures, an initiative to help founders of color with their outdoor-focused businesses, which includes an investment of $30 million in 300 founders.
REI also named Wilma Wallace as the company’s first chief diversity and social impact officer in September 2021 after she had served as REI’s general counsel and corporate secretary since 2017. In her role, Wallace helps advance racial equity in the outdoors and oversee efforts such as the company’s Product Impact Standards, which launched in December 2020 and outlines how brands can have more inclusive marketing and cultural designs in products.
In May 2021, REI launched Co-op Studios, REI’s in-house content arm that prioritizes storytelling from historically underrepresented groups. With this endeavor, REI turned the microphones and cameras onto other storytellers.
Those developments come as REI workers in a New York City store officially voted to unionize last month, making it the first organized REI store in the U.S.
The news comes amid a wave unionization efforts across retail in recent months. Since December, three corporate-owned Starbucks stores have unionized, with more conducting votes and expressing interest. Amazon warehouse employees across the country have also petitioned for union votes in various states. Recently, some workers have led the first union push at an Amazon Fresh retail store in Seattle.