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REI Announces Layoffs For More Than 350 Employees as the Outdoor Industry Declines

REI, arguably the most well-known store focused on the outdoors, has completed a dramatic cut in its workforce. The company ended last week by laying off 357 employees.

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Most employees let go worked at the company’s headquarters, with another hundred working in distribution centers.

“While this work was primarily driven by financial necessity, we took a strategic approach to evaluating team structures against business needs to ensure consistency across the organization as leaders made decisions about which roles to eliminate,” wrote REI CEO Eric Artz. “While many decisions were based on work that no longer exists, we also focused on reducing duplicative work, layers and hierarchy to build more efficient and connected teams.”

The company says the cuts are part of a continued decline in outdoor retail, much of which ballooned around the pandemic when a record number of people were driven to the outdoors. 

“Outdoor specialty retail has experienced four quarters of decline—and that trend has been worsening,” the company’s CEO wrote. “While we were able to outperform this trend for much of the last year, it caught up to us in Q4, and we now expect conditions to remain very challenging throughout 2024.”

Despite the companywide REI layoffs, the business did announce plans for ten new stores around the U.S. late last year. This announcement doesn’t seem to have impacted those plans.

The new stores will be in:

  • Beavercreek, Ohio
  • Beaverton, Oregon
  • Glendale, Arizona
  • Ithaca, New York
  • Rancho Mirage, California
  • Albany, New York
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

REI isn’t the only company to announce layoffs so far this year. Popular apparel brand Cotopaxi let just under two dozen people go earlier this month.

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