REI Posts 2007 Revenues of $1.3 Billion and 8.2 Percent Comp Store Sal - SNEWS

REI Posts 2007 Revenues of $1.3 Billion and 8.2 Percent Comp Store Sal

Outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the nation’s largest consumer cooperative, today announced its 2007 sales of $1.3 billion.
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Outdoor retailer Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the nation's largest consumer cooperative, today announced its 2007 sales of $1.3 billion. The sales growth over 2006 represents an increase of 13.5 percent. In addition, REI's comp store sales showed continued strength in 2007 at 8.2 percent, marking three consecutive years of eight percent or higher.

For the year, REI's operating income increased from $105.5 million to $106.5 million, or .9 percent, and net income increased from $40.3 million to $41.4 million, or 2.7 percent. The company's direct sales channel, which includes online and catalog sales, gained 16.1 percent.

While anyone may shop at REI, only members share in the co-op's profits. Based on the co-op's 2007 sales, $62.8 million will be distributed to its active members through the annual patronage dividend. In late February, 3.4 million active REI members will receive their patronage refunds calculated at 10 percent of their eligible 2007 purchases.

Based on its operating profit results, the outdoor retailer will dedicate $3.7 million through its grants program in support of conservation and recreational access in the coming year. REI provides funding to local and national nonprofit organizations that help protect and restore the environment, and increase participation and access to outdoor activities.

“We are encouraged by our sustained growth and healthy profits during 2007, especially in a year when the country's economy faced uncertain times,” said Brad Johnson, REI's chief financial officer. “As we celebrate our 70th year as an outdoor retailer, we are pleased to carry on our tradition of sharing our profits with members, communities and employees. We will also continue to reinvest in our business to ensure the long-term success of the co-op even 100 years from today.”

Supporting REI's sales growth is the addition of more than 625,000 members joining the cooperative, or a 13 percent increase from the previous year. Since 1938, more than 8.75 million individuals have become REI members.

The company opened seven new stores – Marina, Calif., Fresno, Calif., Cranston, R.I., West Hartford, Conn., Schaumburg, Ill., Portland, Ore., and Issaquah, Wash. In addition, one store was relocated from Niles, Ill. to Northbrook, Ill.

A significant milestone for REI was the opening of its new prototype store in Boulder, Colo. that enables the company to test new retail concepts and the performance of green building features for future stores. The Boulder location complements the co-op's commitment to community involvement, environmental stewardship and providing a gateway to the outdoors. The company anticipates receiving the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification under its Retail – Commercial Interiors pilot program.

Building upon its leadership in green building design, REI officially opened its new eastern regional distribution center in Bedford, Pa., a 525,000 square-foot building on 43 acres. Last month, the facility received LEED Silver certification for New Construction. The eastern region distribution center will help REI significantly reduce transit times of stock replenishment to stores and more quickly deliver orders to co-op members and customers. Forty-two of REI's 96 stores will be serviced by the distribution center, as well as approximately 50 percent of the co-op's direct-to-customer business. The project represents REI's largest capital spending in its history.

Last year, REI's commitment to active stewardship in communities where the company has a presence reached new heights. REI hosted 688 volunteer projects, a 30 percent increase, where employees joined more than 32,600 members, customers and other outdoor enthusiasts to care for shared natural spaces. Additionally, direct positive impacts from organizations funded via REI's grants programs include the maintenance of 14,680 acres of land and 9,730 miles of trail; the participation of 194,385 adults and 547,098 youth in outdoor recreation programs; and 2,149,870 million volunteer service hours by 260,666 individuals across the country. Results are calculated from completed projects and targeted outcomes proposed by grant applicants as some of 2007 grant recipients will utilize funding in 2008 seasonal initiatives.

REI Gear & Apparel – the co-op's award-winning private label – also introduced more than 40 clothing styles bearing its new eco-sensitive icon. The designation was developed to help customers make more informed decisions on products that have improved environmental performance compared to their conventional counterparts. The company plans to increase its eco-sensitive offerings in the coming seasons.

The past year also saw a 45 percent increase in trip bookings for REI Adventures, REI's adventure travel company, which offers more than 140 worldwide adventure travel and weekend getaway trips annually. Another significant milestone was the expansion of REI Outdoor School. With the introduction of the program in Los Angeles and San Diego, REI Outdoor School is now available at all REI retail locations in California – as well as Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

For 11 consecutive years, REI has been recognized by FORTUNE magazine as one of “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” In the 2008 list, the co-op was ranked 34th overall. The company is one of 14 employers included every year since the magazine began compiling the list in 1998, and one of five companies included in two earlier book versions.

REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI operates retail stores nationwide, two online stores – http://www.rei.com and http://www.REI-OUTLET.com – and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, fitness, hiking, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning outdoor gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $20 fee and receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. As an active supporter of the communities in which it does business, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through education, volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.

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