REI lays off 357 amid ‘worsening’ outdoor retail market

Recreational Equipment, Inc. announced Thursday it will lay off roughly 2.2% of its total workforce.

The outfitter, better known as REI, is cutting 357 jobs, mostly from its Seattle headquarters and from its distribution centers.

In a letter to staff, REI CEO Eric Artz said leaders would speak with everyone who was losing their job in a one-on-one meeting. All those laid off would receive separation benefits, Artz said.

Artz wrote that market conditions for outfitters have been bad and getting worse.

“While the U.S. as a whole has avoided entering a recession, outdoor specialty retail has experienced four quarters of decline — and that trend has been worsening. While we were able to outperform this trend for much of the last year, it caught up to us in Q4 and we now expect conditions to remain very challenging throughout 2024.”

The layoffs come as REI plans to close one location in Pearl District in Portland, Oregon, which it says suffered from a record number of break-ins and thefts last year.

The company also said in January it plans to open 10 new stores nationwide in 2024.