Unless you live under a rock (very isolated), you’ve noticed the growing crowds in the places where 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 said it earned $3.7 billion in revenue in 2021. This is an increase of 20% compared to 2019 and 36% compared to 2020.
The co-op also reported its highest number of new members and made a record profit after losing money in 2020. If REI is any indicator for the outdoor industry, the growing number reflects growing crowds in large spaces.
REI ended 2021 flush after finishing 2020 with a COVID-suppressed $1.33 billion in revenue. It also turned in a handsome profit of $97.7 million, helping the co-op after a reported loss of $34 million the previous year.
Its 1.4 million new members have helped, along with another 20.1 million who signed up before 2021.
REI gives back half of the profits
It’s worth noting that REI made its money without keeping it all for itself or its C-suite executives. The co-op estimated it distributed a record $234 million in rewards to members, more than double the 2020 figure.
Its $128.9 million investment in employee profit sharing, retirement and performance incentives more than tripled the 2020 figure. And it invested an additional $7.1 million in more than 400 partners nonprofit “working to address industry inequities and protect the planet.”
REI said it redistributed more than half of its profits to members, employees and nonprofits.
A $30 million investment in 300 business founders of color who are starting outward-facing businesses highlighted a host of equity and inclusivity measures.
And the co-op reported that a substantial purchase of more than 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, is also looking to reduce its resource footprint.
“2021 has been a historic year for the co-op,” said Eric Artz, President and CEO of REI Co-op. “Our cooperative team and partners have risen to meet all challenges, from the ongoing pandemic to ongoing supply chain disruptions, working together towards a common vision. Our members continued to look to REI to help support the desire to spend more time outdoors. And their loyalty to our business allows us to continue to invest in the communities we serve.
REI’s full financial report, including audited financial statements, executive compensation, etc., is available here.