Kent-based REI to lay off 400 retail employees

13,000 employees remain at 162 stores across the nation

REI CEO Eric Artz.

REI CEO Eric Artz.

Kent-based REI will reduce staff at its retail stores across the nation by about 400 employees.

Nearly all 162 stores in 39 states operated by the specialty outdoor retailer reopened as of July 6, according to a company spokesperson. Those stores closed in March because of COVID-19 and 90% of the employees were placed on unpaid furlough but if eligible, received fully funded benefits.

“Nearly all REI stores are open in some capacity with a focus on health and safety standards for employees and customers, and we’ve been able to bring the majority of those employees back from furlough,” a spokesperson said in a July 10 email. “This week we notified approximately 400 retail employees (less than 5% of our retail staff) that they will not be brought back when the furlough period ends on July 15.”

REI employs about 13,000 at its retail stores.

In April, the company laid off about 300 employees at its Kent headquarters because of the economic impact of COVID-19. REI announced those layoffs in April but had not released how many employees were let go. The company employs about 1,000 in Kent.

REI plans to move its headquarters to Bellevue from Kent later this year. The company announced the move in 2016 because it had outgrown its space in Kent and wanted to build a campus in Bellevue that will serve as a gathering place that fosters creativity and connects thousands of increasingly mobile employees.

REI opened its headquarters in Kent in 1988. The company was founded in 1938 in Seattle.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Business

COURTESY PHOTO, Target
Bremerton man pleads guilty to retail theft that included Kent Target store

Stole more than $145,000 in merchandise from 28 thefts at stores in King, Pierce and Kitsap counties

Photo courtesy of Alaska Airlines
Digital rendering the future Alaska Airlines training facility.
Alaska Airlines unveils plans for new training center in Renton

At Longacres, Alaska Airlines plans to build a new training facility in a 600,000-square-foot facility

t
Kent-based Blue Origin’s seventh human flight set for May 19

New Shepard-25 will launch from West Texas

t
Kent’s copper-colored building near Highway 167 to become banquet hall

Facility on Washington Avenue South previously housed LA Fitness; newspaper printing plant

t
Kent-based Stoke Space names retired US Space Force leader to board

Lt. Gen. John E Shaw appointed to Board of Directors

t
City of Kent again looking for new tenant at Riverbend restaurant

City terminates lease with Half Lion Public House, which had hoped to reopen at golf complex

t
Kent-based Blue Origin announces crew for next space flight

6 members to include former Air Force captain selected in 1961 as first Black astronaut candidate

t
Kent man among 40 Under 40 honorees by Puget Sound Business Journal

Andy Song, 33, works as chief operating officer at Kids and Family Counseling

Black Press Media operates Sound Publishing, the largest community news organization in Washington State with dailies and community news outlets in Alaska.
Black Press Media concludes transition of ownership

Black Press Media, which operates Sound Publishing, completed its sale Monday (March 25), following the formerly announced corporate restructuring.

t
Kent Police to host Business Crime Prevention Summit

Meeting set for Thursday, April 25 at the accesso ShoWare Center

t
Owner, manager of Kent Subway illegally took employees’ tips

One of 10 Subway locations in state investigated by U.S. Department of Labor

t
New Kent international market holds grand opening on West Hill

Queen Safa Market and Deli open at 23424 on Pacific Highway S.