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Rent the Runway to shut all stores permanently

Rent the Runway is getting out of the freestanding brick-and-mortar business.

The fashion rental/subscription giant does not plan to reopen any of its stores, reported CNBC. Rent the Runway has five physical locations, with one each in New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. The San Francisco store, which opened in May 2019, was its most recent and largest location. The 8,300-sq.-ft. store featured more than 20 fitting rooms, an expanded merchandise assortment and added perks such as an event and networking space and a beauty bar.

Rent the Runway told CNBC it made the decision not to reopen the stores (which closed amid the pandemic) in order to focus its investments on digital. It also will grow its network of drop-off boxes or kiosks where customers can return their rented items (as opposed to mailing the items back). To date, the company has partnered with WeWork, Nordstrom and West Elm to place the boxes in their sites. 

The New York City flagship will be turned into a permanent drop-off site, the report said

“This has been an evolution over the past two to three years,” Anushka Salinas, Rent the Runway president and COO, said in an interview with CNBC. “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.”

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