Staff Were Informed Months Ago That the Lease Won’t Be Renewed
By Zach Armstrong
Shortly after the grand opening of a new location in the nearby Marina del Rey area, outdoor apparel retailer Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) is closing its Santa Monica store in the coming months.
Staff at the 402 Santa Monica Blvd. location were informed months ago that REI won’t renew its lease and instead close on Feb. 29, 2024, a spokesperson said in an email. Further details on the closure were not disclosed. The Seattle-based chain looks to communicate with customers about the outpost’s final business day after the New Year.
“The decision to close was not made lightly, but after consideration to the positive impact of the store, our market presence, and external factors,” a spokesperson stated in an email. “While Santa Monica remains a destination for locals and visitors alike, the needs of our customers and business have shifted over the nearly two decades that we’ve served this community. The overall operating environment has also changed and the cost to do business.”
Founded in 1938 by Lloyd and Mary Anderso, REI sells outdoor apparel and gear including camping gear, hiking, climbing, cycling, water, running, fitness, snow, travel equipment, and men, women and kids clothing. With 181 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia, the specialty outdoor retailer proclaims itself as the nation’s largest consumer co-op.
Since 2006, REI has been part of Santa Monica while a dozen other locations are scattered throughout the Los Angeles area. On Sept. 8, the grand opening was held for its 23.500 square-foot Marina del Rey store adjacent to the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve. The occasion was met with protestors who demanded the business cut ties with a nonprofit partner that supports the controversial “Ballona Wetlands Restoration Project”, a $250 million bulldozing and restoration project set for the marshes.