REI Reportedly Plans to Lay Off Hundreds of Employees This Week

REI continues to make reductions to its workforce.

The outdoor retailer, which announced widespread furloughs in early April, has reportedly confirmed plans to lay off 400 store employees by Wednesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague its business.

According to multiple reports, which cited an email sent by CEO Eric Artz to staff members last week, the job cuts represent less than 5% of its retail workforce. The executive chief added in the email that the company was able to bring back “nearly all employees who have the skills needed” and “who were available for the hours and shifts required for current customer demand,” while some employees did not wish to return to their posts.

“As the months roll by, it’s clear that the virus is going to be with us in a profound way, for the foreseeable future,” Artz was said to have written to employees. “We’re doing great work serving customer demand right now, but there’s a lot we still don’t know about the long-term impacts to the economy and the full impact to our business.”

FN has reached out to REI for additional comment.

REI has reopened almost its entire brick-and-mortar fleet of just over 160 stores, where it employs about 13,000 workers. Some units are operating with curbside pickup and other contactless services, while others are back in business with limitations on the number of customers allowed inside as well as abbreviated schedules that vary by location.

The latest job cuts come three months after REI eliminated about a quarter of roles — or roughly 300 employees — at its headquarters in Kent, Wash. At the time, Artz also announced that he would give up 100% of his base salary for the next six months, while the REI senior leadership team took a 20% pay reduction during the same period. (Members of the board of directors also forfeited their fees for that time frame.)

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