Rent the Runway, a popular clothing rental brand, fired its entire store staff through Zoom yesterday. The company, which operates primarily online, has physical locations in California, New York, Chicago and Washington DC. All stores are currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic and the company is unsure when and if they will be able to reopen.
At a Zoom meeting with store employees, a company executive said the company needed to “dramatically” review its current operations to support the company. “All teams at RTR are affected in some way today,” she added. “With the current uncertainty and ongoing government restrictions aimed at protecting public health during this unprecedented pandemic, we have no idea when or if we can reopen our stores. As a result, all retail roles are omitted. This was a heartbreaking decision. ‘
Employees say their email accounts were disabled shortly after the call, which lasted less than 30 minutes. Retail workers receive their last salary on or before April 3, and hourly workers are paid for all services they scheduled before March 31, according to documents reviewed by The edge. In addition, employees receive a severance payment and two months health insurance. The company also sent an email detailing unemployment claims.
Rent the runway already contacted customers earlier this month to deal with coronavirus issues. “First, according to Harvard Health, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred from soft surfaces such as fabric or carpet to humans,” the email said. In addition, our cleaners and practices are designed to kill viruses such as colds and flu. Although scientific information is still under development, we have no reason to believe that our processes are not effective against COVID-19. ”
In September, Jason Del Rey joined Rearrange reported that the company experienced it significant last minute order delays, resulting in hundreds of angry customers. Jennifer Hyman, the CEO, said the problem was due to the upgrade of the company’s warehouse system. It had to be done in the immediate aftermath stop accepting new customers. In October, the operation appeared to be back on track.
But the coronavirus pandemic has profoundly changed the economy. State governments have asked non-essential companies in California and New York to remain closed to stop the virus from spreading, and entrepreneurs are forced to make tough decisions.
For companies like Rent the Runway that mainly operate online, closing retail locations is probably a necessary choice. “Rent the Runway has always been a little too good to be true,” said a former store employee The edge. “We don’t sell anything, there isn’t much to do in the store.” She asked to remain anonymous because her termination relied on signing a non-disapproval agreement.
In a statement to The edge, said a Rent the Runway spokesperson, “We aim to make this transition as seamless as possible for our employees, from compensation to continuing health insurance. While we have no idea how long our business will be impacted, we remain committed to serving and supporting our employees and customers in this challenging time. “