REI Co-op laid off about 8% of its headquarters staff in a move President and CEO Eric Artz said addresses “increasing uncertainty.”
“We have clear goals for the future of the co-op and are confident in our long-term strategies,” Artz said in a message to employees on Tuesday, which was also posted to the REI site. “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. We will need to make hard choices, and that will be the work ahead for all of us.”
The cuts total 167 employees, which make up less than 1% of the overall company headcount.
An REI spokesperson, on Wednesday, declined to specify what departments or service areas were impacted by this week’s layoffs or if the retailer anticipates further cuts in the future, and instead pointed to Artz’s employee message.
The CEO emphasized the need to “get the co-op back to profitability as quickly as possible,” in his note to workers, explaining the layoffs allow the company to “focus resources on areas of highest impact.” Multiple divisions at headquarters were also consolidated, although Artz did not go into detail on the reorganized operations.
“I know we can get there, but it will require each of us to work very differently,” Artz said. “In the year ahead, we will align around a few vital strategic priorities to ensure we are making the best use of the co-op’s resources to serve members, customers, and support our long-term goals. This also means centering our work around the customer and member experience.”
The CEO told employees more details about the plan for the business this year will come next week.
Eligible full-time employees impacted by the restructure are expected to receive severance. The company is also providing four months of COBRA health insurance, vacation time, 2022 bonuses, and job placement assistance.
It’s unclear how the retailer fared in 2022 because its financial results have not yet been released.
The retailer’s 2021 sales grew 36% to $3.7 billion, with net income of $97.7 million.
REI currently has 179 stores and 21.5 million members.