REI's 'OptOutside' nets 1 million new members

REI's decision to close on Black Friday and encourage shoppers to instead #OptOutside was more than a publicity stunt. Rather, it fueled a jump in revenue and membership.   

The outdoor co-op reported year-end revenue of $2.4 billion, a 9.3 percent increase over the prior year. Comparable store sales increase 7 percent.

Digital sales grew by approximately 23 percent, thanks to a recent digital makeover.

REI added 1 million new members in 2015 and now boasts a co-op membership of more than 6 million.
As a co-op, REI will return more than 72 percent of its profits from 2015 to members, employees and nonprofit partners. For 2015, that's $185.3 million.

REI's Black Friday tactic worked, in part because the retailer was never well-positioned to offer doorbusters and deeply discounted items. Telling members to get outside was in keeping with everyone's values and interests.

The retailer will continue to emphasize this position in the coming year. Beginning at the company's annual meeting in May, it's been asking REI members to take part in a conversation about the positive impact the REI community can have on the outdoors and society—100 years from now and beyond.  

"The health of the co-op is closely linked with the health of the outdoors. We have made good progress this year, but there is much more to do," said Jerry Stritzke, REI president and CEO. "Stewardship is a mindset that helps us to imagine the positive, lasting impact we can have together. It helps us look to the future and to think about our legacy."

For more:
-See this REI press release
-Read this Seattle Times article
-See this Puget Sound Business Journal story

Related stories:
REI expands in New York and Florida
A second retailer joins REI and will close on Black Friday
REI will be closed on Black Friday
REI returns record revenue to co-op members
Outdoor outfitter REI is poised for a digital makeover