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REI reaches new peak in revenue and dividends

In this 2006 file photo, Rachel Hartman looks over sea kayaks as she shops for a birthday present for herself at Recreational Equipment Inc. store in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
In this 2006 file photo, Rachel Hartman looks over sea kayaks as she shops for a birthday present for herself at Recreational Equipment Inc. store in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)
Janet I. Tu Seattle Times

Fueled in part by more than a million new members, REI reported record revenue in 2015 and a record amount given back to its members.

The outdoor co-op Tuesday reported revenue of $2.4 billion, up 9 percent from $2.2. billion in 2014.

Comparable store sales, meaning sales at stores open at least a year, were up 7 percent. Digital sales were up nearly 23 percent, driven by a redesign of rei.com, according to the co-op.

Operating income and net income, however, were lower than in 2014 because of 2015’s record dollar amount of member dividend, investments in technology and infrastructure, and a 52-week fiscal year compared with 53 weeks in 2014.

Operating income in 2015 was $175.5 million, down nearly 4?percent from 2014. Net income (after dividends and taxes) of $35.4 million was down 20 percent.

More than 72 percent of REI’s 2015 profits will go back to members, employees (who take part in a profit-sharing program) and nonprofit partners, REI said.

A record $185.3 million is being returned to members through annual dividends and credit-card rebates. That’s up from $168 million in 2014.

REI reached a total of more than 6 million members last year, according to the co-op’s 2015 Stewardship Report. That’s up from a total membership tally of 5.5 million in 2014, when 945,000 new members joined.

Sales in the camping, outdoor cross-training and climbing categories were strong in 2015.

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