REI Increases Store Employees Pay by an Average of 10%
Taken altogether, the hourly retail pay across all REI stores is increasing by an average of 10 percent. REI's wage hikes are estimated to cost the retailer as much as $24 million to $25 million. Jerry Stritzke, CEO of REI, said in the co-op's annual meeting the pay hikes equal "the vast majority of our profits last year." The Seattle Times reports REI's move toward higher pay for store employees had been in the works for months, but it comes at a time when employees have been increasingly vocal about wage and scheduling issues. A Seattle City Council member had held a forum in which some REI workers talked of low wages and erratic hours. The company has tried to give additional opportunities for employees, such as more consistent scheduling and providing work hours 16 days in advance.
Total Retail's Take: REI has consistently tried to connect with its employees and consumers. A few years ago, REI launched the #OptOutside social media campaign, which saw the retailer close its stores on Black Friday and encourage people to go outside instead of shopping. REI has been proactive in trying to keep up with changing shopping behaviors. However, Stritzke said the No. 1 challenge for the company remains the fact that “the basis of retail is fundamentally changing.”