REI Announces Layoffs For More Than 350 Employees as the Outdoor Industry Declines

In a significant move for the outdoor industry, REI, known for its focus on outdoor gear and equipment, has announced layoffs for over 350 employees. The layoffs primarily affected employees at the company’s headquarters, with another hundred impacted at distribution centers. The decision was driven by financial necessity, as the outdoor retail sector has been experiencing a decline for the past four quarters. Despite the challenges, REI has plans for ten new stores across the United States. This article explores the company’s strategic approach to the layoffs and its outlook for the future amidst a changing industry landscape.

REI Announces Layoffs For More Than 350 Employees as the Outdoor Industry Declines


Announcement of layoffs at REI

REI, one of the most renowned stores in the outdoor industry, has recently made a significant reduction in its workforce. This news came as a surprise to many employees and customers alike. The company confirmed that it laid off 357 employees, marking a significant change for the organization.

Reasons for the layoffs

The decision to carry out these layoffs was primarily driven by financial necessity. However, REI took a strategic approach in evaluating team structures to ensure consistency across the organization. The company wanted to align its workforce with the changing business needs and eliminate roles that were no longer required. This approach allowed REI to streamline operations and build more efficient and connected teams.

Impact of the outdoor industry decline

The outdoor industry has experienced a decline in recent times, and this trend has affected many retailers, including REI. The decline was further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove a record number of people to the outdoors. Unfortunately, this surge followed by a decline in outdoor retail has created challenging conditions for REI and other industry players. The company expects these challenging conditions to persist throughout 2024.

Layoffs at REI

Number of employees laid off

REI laid off a total of 357 employees in its recent workforce reduction. This significant number of layoffs reflects the scope of the company’s decision to reshape its workforce and adapt to the changing market dynamics.

Locations of affected employees

Most of the employees let go were based at REI’s headquarters, emphasizing the restructuring that took place at the corporate level. Additionally, approximately one hundred employees working in distribution centers were affected by the layoffs.

REI Announces Layoffs For More Than 350 Employees as the Outdoor Industry Declines

Reasons for the Layoffs

Financial necessity

The layoffs at REI were primarily driven by financial necessity. The decline in outdoor retail, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has affected the company’s revenue and profitability. Therefore, in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business, REI had to make difficult decisions, including reducing its workforce.

Strategic approach in evaluating team structures

While financial necessity played a significant role in the layoffs, REI also took a strategic approach to evaluating team structures. The company aimed to align its workforce with the evolving business needs and eliminate duplication of work, layers, and hierarchy. This strategic assessment allowed REI to create more efficient and connected teams that can navigate the challenging market conditions.

Impact of Outdoor Industry Decline

Decline in outdoor retail

The outdoor retail sector has experienced a decline in recent times, posing challenges for companies like REI. Although the industry initially saw a surge in demand due to the pandemic, there has been a subsequent decline. This trend has impacted the revenue and growth prospects of outdoor retailers, leading to the need for cost-cutting measures such as layoffs.

Effects of the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on the outdoor industry. At the onset of the pandemic, more people turned to outdoor activities due to restrictions and the desire for safe recreational options. However, as restrictions eased and other forms of entertainment became available, the demand for outdoor equipment and gear declined. This shift in consumer behavior has had a detrimental effect on retailers like REI.

Challenging conditions expected throughout 2024

REI anticipates that the challenging conditions faced by the outdoor industry will persist until 2024. The continued decline in outdoor retail, coupled with the uncertainty of the pandemic’s long-term effects, creates a difficult business environment for companies in this sector. REI acknowledges these challenges and is taking proactive measures to adapt to the changing landscape.

Planned Store Openings

REI’s announcement of new store openings

Despite the recent layoffs, REI has announced plans to open ten new stores throughout the United States. This demonstrates the company’s commitment to its long-term growth and expansion. REI aims to attract and serve outdoor enthusiasts in various locations, providing them with quality outdoor gear and exceptional customer service.

Locations of the new stores

The ten new REI stores will be opened in the following cities:

  • Beavercreek, Ohio
  • Beaverton, Oregon
  • Glendale, Arizona
  • Ithaca, New York
  • Rancho Mirage, California
  • Albany, New York
  • Tulsa, Oklahoma

These new store openings reflect REI’s determination to reach a broader customer base and establish its presence in different regions across the country.

Other Layoffs in the Outdoor Industry

Cotopaxi’s layoffs

Cotopaxi, a popular outdoor apparel brand, also made the decision to lay off a portion of its workforce this year. The exact number of employees affected was not disclosed; however, reports indicate that around two dozen people were let go. Cotopaxi’s layoffs highlight the broader challenges faced by companies in the outdoor industry, as they navigate the changing market conditions.

Implications for the industry

The layoffs at REI and Cotopaxi signify a larger trend in the outdoor industry. Declining revenue and changing consumer behavior have forced companies to make difficult decisions, including workforce reductions. These layoffs highlight the need for businesses in the outdoor industry to adapt and find new ways to thrive in an evolving market landscape.


The recent layoffs at REI, as well as in other companies within the outdoor industry, have significant implications for employment in the sector. Financial necessity and strategic evaluations have led to the reduction in the workforce at REI. The decline in outdoor retail, further impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, has created challenging conditions for the industry as a whole. Despite these challenges, REI remains committed to its long-term growth and expansion, as demonstrated by its plans for new store openings. It is essential for companies in the outdoor industry to navigate these difficult times strategically and adapt to the changing market dynamics to ensure their future success and the vitality of the industry as a whole.

Source: https://outdoors.com/rei-announces-layoffs-for-more-than-350-employees-as-the-outdoor-industry-declines/

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