Rent the Runway to permanently close all its physical stores

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Rent the Runway is set to permanently shut all of its physical stores as it is forced to shift its operations back online in the wake of the coronavirus.

The fashion rental start-up will shutter four stores in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC and convert its flagship store in New York into a permanent returns site, CNBC reported.

According to Rent the Runway it will now focus on its digital investments and plans to expand its network of drop off boxes, which it has already rolled out in WeWork, NordStrom and West Elm stores.

“This has been an evolution over the past two to three years,” Rent the Runway’s president and chief operating officer Anushka Salinas said.

READ MORE: Rent the Runway seeks funding round at $250m below pre-coronavirus valuation as CTO departs

“We always knew we wanted and will continue to have a physical presence strategy. What we know now is the physical presence strategy is about drop boxes.”

Like most other retailers the company has been hit hard by the pandemic, as almost all black-tie occasions the company depends on for its rentals were cancelled during lockdown.

Rent the Runway was forced to lay off 10 per cent of its workforce early in the pandemic, furloughing a further 35 per cent and issuing pay cuts to more.

It was also reported in May that Rent the Runway could be planning to launch a funding round valuing the company at $250 million below its pre-coronavirus valuation as it tried to keep its head above water.

This topped off a turbulent few months for the company’s leadership, seeing its president and former chief operations officer Maureen Sullivan leave in March after nearly five years.

In the past six months, three C-level executives including its general council, chief supply chain officer and chief brand officer were newly appointed.

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