Rent the Runway is permanently closing all of its stores. The clothing rental service previously operated five locations across New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., in which renters could try on items, pick up orders and return past rentals.
The rental company is one of several digitally-native retailers who have made the decision to cease physical store operations due to the economic impact of the pandemic. Rent the Runway says it plans to return its sole focus on its online business and increase its number of drop-off locations across the country.
As Rent the Runway had been increasing its physical presence in major cities throughout the U.S., renters had been allowed the opportunity to make quick and easy returns via drop-off boxes in Rent the Runway stores and the stores of partner companies.
Renters can also ship their items back to Rent the Runway with a prepaid shipping label. The company recently switched its shipping partner from UPS to Fedex as it believes this system will make returns more convenient to its renters. "With more than 60,000 FedEx and partner locations where customers can drop off packages across the country, this change helps ensure we can continue to provide you with speedy and convenient returns on every order," Rent the Runway explained to subscribers in an email.
"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," Rent the Runway's president and COO Anushka Salinas told Business Insider.