- Rent the Runway is permanently closing its five physical retail locations in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
- In a statement to Business Insider, Rent the Runway president and COO Anushka Salinas said the company will shift its focus back to its online-only roots, while increasing its drop-off locations around the country.
- The buzzy startup is the latest retail victim of the coronavirus outbreak, and news of its store closures comes just a week after fellow direct-to-consumer darling Glossier announced layoffs at its retail locations.
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Online clothing rental service Rent the Runway is permanently shuttering its five brick-and-mortar stores, becoming the latest retail casualty of the coronavirus outbreak.
The closures include its five physical locations in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., as well as New York City, where its flagship store will be transformed into a permanent return site for rented garments, as first reported by CNBC. In a statement to Business Insider, Rent the Runway president and COO Anushka Salinas said the company will shift its focus back to its online-only roots, while increasing its drop-off locations around the country.
“The closure of our retail stores is something we had long considered as part of the evolution of our overall business strategy as the primary use-case of our stores for the past few years has been pick-up and drop-off, and was a decision we accelerated during the pandemic,” Salinas told Business Insider.
The news comes on the heels of several months of turmoil for the buzzy retail startup, including furloughing 35% of its employees, laying off 10% of its total workforce, and issuing pay cuts early in the pandemic. The company has also experienced ongoing turnover from its executive team, including the recent departure of longtime employees Maureen Sullivan and Joshua Builder, the company’s former president and chief technology officer, respectively.
“We built Rent the Runway so our customers could ‘show up’ feeling powerful and confident every single day, whether they’re at work or in a Zoom meeting,” founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman told Business Insider’s Tanya Dua in April. “No amount of scenario planning could have prepared any business for the fallout of coronavirus, but our path forward remains unchanged, and even in a new normal, our mission is more relevant than ever. We will continue to be here for our customers so they can access the closet in the cloud with total flexibility.”
The closures also come just a week after fellow direct-to-consumer darling Glossier announced it will keep its doors closed throughout the duration of the pandemic, and in turn layoff retail employees at its New York City, Los Angeles, and London stores.
“As a digital-first company, we have always viewed our offline experiences as a channel for connection and community, and that mandate has not changed,” Glossier wrote in a post published on its website last week. “We will keep working to find new formats for bringing joy to our community in this current environment, while reimagining Glossier retail for the future so that we can reopen with renewed creativity, energy, and scale when it is safe to do so.”