Rent The Runway Closes Brick-and-Mortar Stores, Including at The Village at Westfield Topanga

The pandemic "accelerated" the company's decision shutter its boutiques.

Rent the Runway Westfield Topanga

Another online-born brand is packing up its offline outposts. After temporarily shuttering its stores in mid-March due to the coronavirus, Rent the Runway has decided to permanently close all of its brick-and-mortar locations, including in Los Angeles, reports Women's Wear Daily.

The luxury fashion and home goods rental service took a big hit as the pandemic brought office life and in-person events — a.k.a. big business for RTR — to a screeching halt. The company's L.A. closures include its store at The Village at Westfield Topanga and its shop-in-shop at West Elm in Santa Monica alongside boutiques in Boston, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, and other cities. It will continue to offer in-person drop-off in L.A. at select WeWork and Nordstrom Local locations, though all are currently temporarily closed.

Anushka Salinas, president and chief operating officer, told WWD earlier this month that Rent The Runway was already considering the closure of its IRL shops and that it was "a decision we accelerated during the pandemic."

"The primary use-case of our stores for the past few years has been pick-up and drop-off," Salinas continues. "We will continue to innovate our experience to best suit the changes in our customer's lives, even in a new normal. We always believed in Rent the Runway's physical presence. And to best meet our customers where they are now, [we] will leverage the technology we've already built to transition from a traditional retail experience and expand our drop-off box offerings and digital features to serve even more members across the country."

Per The Verge, Rent the Runway laid off all of its retail employees at the end of March, and a month later Business Insider reported that the company furloughed 35% of corporate employees. Analytics firm GlobalData revealed in mid-July that clothing rental services were expected to lose up to half of their business, according to InStyle.

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