Another clothing casualty: Rent the Runway to shutter its stores

Subscription service will convert NYC location to drop-off site; focus will shift to digital

National /
Aug.August 14, 2020 05:30 PM
Rent The Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman and a store location in New York City (Getty)Rent The Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman and a store location in New York City (Getty)

Rent The Runway CEO and co-founder Jennifer Hyman and a store location in New York City (Getty)

In an age of Zoom calls, remote working, outdoor dining and social distancing, every day is casual Friday. That has meant bad news for Rent the Runway, the subscription-based service that allows women to rent clothing.

On Friday, the startup said it will permanently close its retail stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., according to CNBC. The company will focus on its digital business, and will convert its New York City flagship store at 30 West 15th Street into a permanent drop-off location.

“We always knew we wanted and will continue to have a physical presence strategy,” Rent the Runway president and COO Anushka Salinas told CNBC. “What we know now is the physical presence strategy is about drop boxes.”

The company said it has partnered with WeWork, Nordstrom and West Elm to increase the number of its future drop box locations.

Rent the Runway signed an 83,000-square-foot office lease at 10 Jay Street on the Brooklyn waterfront in May 2019.

The company was able to raise funds despite the pandemic, though at a valuation below the $1 billion level it once had. In March, the company laid off all its retail employees on a Zoom call.

“The vast majority of our subscribers didn’t cancel their accounts,” Salinas said, according to CNBC. “They put them on hold or just kept items at home. … That tells me there is optimism.” [CNBC] — Orion Jones


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