REI lays off 8% of HQ workers to hedge against 'increasing uncertainty'
Published in Business News
REI has laid off 167 people from its headquarters, citing "increasing uncertainty" and a need to get back to profitability.
The layoffs affected 8% of the co-op's headquarters workforce and less than 1% of its total head count, President and CEO Eric Artz said in a letter to employees on Tuesday.
REI shifted to remote work in 2020, meaning there is no single headquarters location. The co-op has offices in Issaquah, Seattle and Sumner.
"We have clear goals for the future of the co-op and are confident in our long-term strategies," Artz wrote. "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."
To do so, REI is making "organizational changes" at its headquarters, including reducing head count and reorganizing and combining several divisions. In the year ahead, Artz said, REI will "align" around a few strategic priorities to ensure the co-op is making the best use of its resources and centering its work around the customer and member experience.
REI does not have any additional plans for more layoffs.
During the past year and a half, REI has expanded its leadership team, adding new roles including chief supply chain officer and chief commercial officer for the first time. In 2021, according to REI's annual report, the co-op invested $128.9 million in employee profit-sharing, retirement and performance incentives.
Those impacted by the job cuts Tuesday will receive severance packages, 4 months of health care through COBRA coverage, pay for remaining vacation time and 2022 bonuses, as well as outplacement support for finding a new role.
In 2021, the most recent financial data available, REI reported $3.7 billion in revenue, up 36% from the year before, and net income of $97.7 million.
©2023 The Seattle Times. Visit seattletimes.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.