REI Releases 2015 Stewardship and Earnings Report, Gives Back Three-Quarters of Profit to Outdoor Community and Opens Voting for Board Members

One million new members join REI; co-op gives back record dividend and millions for employees and nonprofits, following 9.3 percent growth in 2015

15 Mar, 2016, 09:00 ET from REI

SEATTLE, March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- REI, the specialty outdoor co-op, has released a combined earnings and Stewardship Report, announcing record revenues and millions of dollars given back to the outdoor community—including more than 12,000 employees—thanks to nearly double-digit growth for two consecutive years.

As REI grows profitably, the co-op can invest back into the outdoors and advocate on its behalf. The Stewardship Report details that, for the first time in REI history, more than 1 million new members joined the co-op in 2015. REI reported record annual revenues of $2.4 billion in 2015, a 9.31 percent increase from $2.2 billion in 2014. Comparable store sales, which include direct to consumer sales, were up seven percent and digital sales grew by nearly 23 percent, while total energy use was down.

Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO, said, "The health of the co-op is closely linked with the health of the outdoors. We have made good progress this year, but there is much more to do. Stewardship is a mindset that helps us to imagine the positive, lasting impact we can have together. It helps us look to the future and to think about our legacy."

As a co-op, more than 72 percent of REI's profits from 2015 will go back to members, employees and nonprofit partners. A record $185.3 million will be shared with more than 6 million REI members through annual dividends and credit card rebates. Members have the option of donating their dividend to The REI Foundation, if they choose.

In 2015, REI invested record amounts in more than 1,000 outdoor places. More than $8.5 million went back to nonprofits, including large grants for the National Parks' centennial and to increase women's leadership in the outdoor industry, both of which are priorities for the co-op.

In his President's Message, Stritzke reflects on the co-op's opportunity to think about long-term impact, sharing that he plans to invite REI members to take part in a conversation beginning this May at REI's annual member meeting. Members will be invited to discuss the positive impact the REI community could have on the outdoors and society, 100 years from now and beyond.

REI's board of directors is selected by the co-op's membership and oversees the company. Members can exercise their rights to vote for the board now through April 25.

About REI
REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of more than 6 million active members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 145 stores in 35 states. If you can't visit a store, you can shop at REI.com, REI.com/outlet or the free REI shopping app. REI isn't just about gear. You can take the trip of a lifetime with REI Adventures, a global leader in active adventure travel that runs 150 custom-designed itineraries on every continent. REI's Outdoor School is run by professionally-trained, expert-instructors who teach beginner- to advanced-level courses about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to–and steward–the outdoor places that inspire us.

1. Percentage calculated based upon a 52-week period for 2015 and 53-week period for 2014. A 52-week comparable view shows an 11 percent increase for 2015 from 2014.

Editor's Note: REI's 2015 audited financial report is available at http://www.rei.com/about-rei/financial-information.html, and details on the co-op's stewardship efforts are available at REI.com/stewardship.

Highlights from the 2015 Stewardship Report include:

Creating Access to Nature
Last year, over $8.5 million was invested in more than 1,000 outdoor places through nonprofits partnerships, including signature investments from The REI Foundation to the National Parks Foundation. As part of this investment, $500,000 was distributed to 10 trails across the country in just 37 hours through 100,000 votes by trail enthusiasts.

Catalyzing Outdoor Experiences
The outdoor community rallied on behalf of the outdoors in 2015. More than 1.4 million people and 175 organizations supported #OptOutside on Black Friday, and hundreds of state parks provided incentives or free entry. REI members joined together to generously donate more than $850,000 to Mercy Corps for relief efforts in response to the Nepal earthquake. Additionally, nearly 254,000 people learned a new activity or brushed up on their skills through REI Outdoor School's store classes or local outings, an increase of more than 40 percent from 2014, and REI Adventures led 9,800 members on trips in more than 40 countries across all seven continents, representing a 9.7 percent increase from 2014.

Curating Sustainable Products
REI's private brands division shifted to 100 percent Responsible Down Standard (RDS) for its products to ensure that the down used will come from ethically treated ducks and geese, and continued its commitment to transition to bluesign®-certified materials, a system for sustainable textile production. In 2015, the co-op established a sourcing relationship with the first Fair Trade certified apparel factory in the U.S., which will produce the t-shirts for REI's National Parks' centennial product assortment available to members this spring.

Operating Sustainably
Absolute energy use was down slightly from 2014, while REI added five new stores and increased its operational footprint. Since 2008, the co-op's energy use has grown only 4.2 percent while its sales have grown 68.4 percent during that time. Committed to remaining a top employee of choice, the company gave back over $70 million to more than 12,000 employees through incentive and retirement programs.

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