REI Santa Monica to close, the second downtown location this month

REI will close up shop in Santa Monica at the end of the month, marking the second move out of a busy downtown area this month for the outdoor retail giant.

REI Co-op’s location in the heart of Portland closed earlier this month.

In both cases, the company has either already opened, or soon plans to open, stores in more suburban areas nearby — one location in Marina del Rey, which opened over the summer, and another in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, which is slated to open this spring.

The closure of the Santa Monica outlet, which opened in 2006, marks the latest blow for one of the coastal city’s key shopping districts, which has lately begun to build back some momentum after struggling to regain its footing in recent years.

The bustling tourist destination, which took a big hit during COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, has drawn criticism from some locals about public safety and homelessness, as well as counter-criticism that those complaints are overblown. A Times review in late 2022 found that police calls for service in the city declined sharply in 2020 relative to the six years previous and that they had stayed relatively flat.

Representatives for REI didn’t immediately respond to questions about why the store is leaving the Santa Monica location, which officially closes at 6 p.m. on Feb. 29, or about the January closure of a store in Fremont, Calif.

The company previously put out a statement about leaving Portland, saying that the store had in the last year experienced “its highest number of break-ins and thefts in two decades, despite actions to provide extra security.”

Although REI said in the statement that it didn’t intend to return to downtown Portland in the near term, the retailer pointed shoppers to three locations in nearby suburbs.

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