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The winter 2001 issue of Forbes’ ASAP has a story called Web Trails on REI’s internet operations.“A half-decade into the internet era,” writes author Ken Yamada, “highly touted Web-based retailers, like Amazon, still struggle to achieve profits, while others like Webvan, have been spectacular busts. But guess what? Web retailing is still growing, though increasingly the gains go to old-line ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers. None more so than Recreational Equipment Inc., the 63-year-old Kent, Wash.-based outdoor clothing and equipment retailer,” he continued. “Its online sales are growing twice as fast as sales in its busiest stores. For REI, the Internet isn’t a substitute for storefronts but a new sales channel that enhances existing channels.” According to REI research cited in the story, customers who began shopping REI at REI.com last year spent 24 percent more in “real-world” REI stores than they had the previous year. The key, Yamada speculated, is in REI allowing people to pick up and return merchandise purchased online, in the stores. Speaking to REI’s internet success, CEO Dennis Madsen is quoted as saying, “Internet retailing is no different than bricks-and-mortar retailing; you constantly have to reinvent your operations to maintain the freshness and appeal that are going to draw customers.” Go to www.forbes.com.