Whether it's hiking, biking or camping, an estimated 142 million Americans love the great outdoors. That statistic has helped propel outdoor retailer REI to new heights of success.
The recreational equipment chain's sales rose 10 percent to a record $2.2 billion last year, growing faster than the likes of Macy's, Target and Wal-Mart, thanks in large part to the growing popularity of outdoor sports. For water sports equipment sales alone, the U.S. market is nearly $19.4 billion, according to Statista.com.
"We're seeing what we would call our heritage categories: the camp, the hike trail, those things that we've been involved in for 75 years, are really strong right now," REI President and CEO Jerry Stritzke explained to CNBC's "On the Money" in an interview.
"There's a real movement towards fitness, and the idea of getting outside really has dovetailed to make these traditional outdoor activities compelling," said Stritzke, a veteran of retail powerhouses Victoria's Secret and Coach.