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REI's ascent continues, membership surges


Outdoor retailer REI reached new heights in 2014 thanks to unprecedented membership growth which fueled a 4.2% same store sales increase and a record financial performance.

The same store sales increased and addition of seven new stores helped the company increase total sales 9.9% to $2.2 billion. The company ended the year with 5.5 million active members, 945,000 of whom joined the retail cooperative in 2014.

“Joining REI has transformed my view of business. We aim for steady growth so that we can invest in the outdoors. That’s a powerful formula that encourages us to think and act long-term,” said Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO. “I love being part of the co-op because success for us means giving back to the outdoor community and helping people live life outside.”

REI employs a unique cooperative model that fosters loyalty by rewarding active members for their purchases while also funding outdoor causes. For example, last year the company returned $168 million to its members and gave $8 million to non-profits and new projects to create access to inspirational outdoor places. Customers pay a one-time $20 fee to become members and receive a 10% dividend based on eligible annual purchases.

“Our momentum reflects the appeal of life outdoors. We have focused hard on giving our members great gear and expertise,” Stritzke said. “Our stores and digital business are doing well, demand for experiences and adventures is up and we are saying a big thank you by investing more in the work our non-profit partners do for our members and the outdoor community.”

In addition to product sales, the company saw growth in its REI Adventures business which increased 19.4% and REI Outdoor School which grew 28%. The company also launched a new private label brand last year called REI Co-op and plans to extend the line this year.

New stores that opened last year are located in Fairbanks, Alaska; Flagstaff, Arizona; Knoxville, Tennessee; Salem-Keizer, Oregon; Southlake, Texas and two stores in Columbus, Ohio. The company ended the year with 138 locations and this Spring has added new locations in Alpharetta, Georgia and Princeton, New Jersey, and relocated its Dallas store.

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