Kent-based outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI said Wednesday its sales shot up nearly 14 percent in 2007 to $1.3 billion as it opened...

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Kent-based outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI said Wednesday its sales shot up nearly 14 percent in 2007 to $1.3 billion as it opened seven new stores and signed up an additional 625,000 members nationwide.

The member-owned cooperative said its operating profit rose 1 percent to $106.5 million.

REI will distribute $62.8 million to members through its annual patronage dividend, which is based on sales. Later this month, about 3.4 million members will receive dividends amounting to 10 percent of their eligible 2007 purchases.

Based on the operating profit, REI will donate $3.7 million to local and national nonprofits that help protect the environment and increase participation in outdoor activities.

REI also said sales at stores open at least a year jumped 8.2 percent in 2007, its third consecutive year of same-store sales growth above 8 percent.

REI, which owns 96 stores in 27 states, said its net income increased nearly 3 percent from a year ago to $41.4 million.