Dear co-op members,
2020 was a year like no other—at the co-op and around the world. Many organizations would say that the past year was among the most difficult years in their history. The same is true for our co-op.
We were one of the first retailers to proactively close all of our stores last spring, as the significance of the pandemic began to take shape. What we first thought might last a week or two ended up stretching for nearly two months. And while we ended the year in a strong financial position, with a healthy cash balance and no debt, our temporary store closure and great challenges posed by the pandemic meant we ended 2020 without making a profit.
Although the world was full of uncertainty and stress, we were reminded time and again of the importance of time outside, and our role in helping people get out there. We welcomed almost 1 million new members to the co-op community, built new offerings like curbside pickup and virtual outfitting, and helped many people discover a favorite new outdoor activity.
As challenging as last year was, we have something others don’t—you. Our members are at the center of who we are and how we operate. You asked us how you could help the co-op; we responded by asking for your continued loyalty as co-op members. We’re grateful for your support. Because of you, we made it through 2020 in better shape than we initially projected, and we believe the future is brighter than ever.
Each year, REI Co-op members receive a unique benefit—the REI member dividend—which is your share of REI’s profits of the last year. Since we didn’t earn a profit in 2020, we don’t have those profits to provide to members in the form of a dividend. Even though we didn’t make a profit last year, you’ll receive a member reward equivalent to what your dividend would have been: 10 percent back on your eligible full-price purchases in 2020. This will feel a lot like the dividend experience you’re used to, and you’ll see your total reward in your account on March 1. (REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard® rewards are unaffected by this change.) Find answers to your frequently asked questions here.
It’s our way of saying thank you for your loyalty and support in 2020, and our hope that you get to enjoy lots of time outside in 2021. In good times or bad, our community always comes first. It’s the co-op way.
Vivienne Long, Vice President of Marketing