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REI to lay off 357 employees at headquarters

Published January 25, 2024

SEATTLE (BRAIN) — REI is laying off 357 employees as the cooperative braces for a challenging year. CEO Eric Artz told employees the news on Thursday.

According to a memo Artz shared with employees, the layoffs will affect 200 headquarters employees, six from sales and customer support, 30 from teams that support classes and multiday trips, and 121 in distribution centers.

Retail employees will not be affected, the memo said. 

"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. 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 memo said.

He said the industry has become challenging and "highly promotional."

"As I shared in my most recent CEO Huddle, while the U.S. as a whole has avoided entering a recession (by definition, two consecutive quarters of total U.S. market decline), outdoor specialty retail has experienced four quarters of decline — and that trend has been worsening. 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," he wrote in the memo.

REI cut 275 jobs — most of them in stores — in October.

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