If Recreational Equipment Inc. were a publicly traded company, it would be the toast of Wall Street. Last year, revenue at the outdoor gear and apparel seller surged 10 percent, to $2.2 billion. Sales at stores open more than a year ticked up 4.2 percent.
Of the largest retailers in the U.S., only a handful beat those metrics. L Brands didn’t, nor did Urban Outfitters, Tiffany, Target, Macy’s, or Wal-Mart Stores. Of course, REI shoppers had some extra incentive: They get a chunk of the profits.