REI Co-op is the latest company to announce staffing cuts amid a rough economic environment.
President and CEO Eric Artz said in a company-wide email on Tuesday that REI would lay off 167 employees as it restructures its headquarters in Kent, Wash. The cuts impact 8% of workers in the HQ and 1% of the company’s total workforce.
“We have clear goals for the future of the co-op and are confident in our long-term strategies. But in the face of increasing uncertainty, we need to sharpen our focus on the most critical investments and areas of work to best serve our members and grow the co-op over the long term,” Artz wrote, adding that the cuts were made to help the company get back to profitability.
Artz said part of the reorganization involves combining various divisions in the company’s headquarters. He said he would provide more details about forward-looking plans for 2023 next week. All eligible employees were offered a severance package, outplacement support and four months of health care coverage.
With this news, REI joins a growing list of companies cutting staff. Since the start of 2023, Amazon, Bolt, Everlane, Kohl’s, Saks and more retail and technology companies have announced major cuts across their workforces. At the same time, several REI stores have attempted to unionize their stores in the last year, often seeking improved wages and safer work environments.
As a cooperative, REI’s business is partly owned by its employees, producers and members. The company said in April that it hit $3.7 billion in sales in 2021, marking an increase of 36% over 2020. Net income was $97.7 million in 2021. Overall, REI said it gave more than half of its profits back to members, employees and nonprofit partners in 2021.