Outdoor Voices to Close All Stores This Week


Outdoor Voices, an athletic apparel company, is closing all its stores on Sunday, according to four employees at four different stores who were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the news.

In an internal Slack message reviewed by The New York Times, some employees were notified on Wednesday that “Outdoor Voices is embarking on a new chapter as we transition to an exclusively online business.” Products in stores are going to be discounted 50 percent, according to the Slack message.

The news came as a surprise, two of the employees said, adding that they were not offered severance.

Outdoor Voices, which lists 16 retail locations on its website, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Founded in 2014 by Ty Haney, the brand became popular for its muted tones and highly Instagrammable aesthetics. Think matching crop tops and leggings in pale shades of earthy tones. Its hashtag and company mantra, #DoingThings, became popular on social media, where brand loyalists would regularly share images of themselves participating in athletic activities like running or hiking or spinning. The company often hosted events, like group exercise classes, and even built an editorial platform called The Recreationalist.

Many Outdoor Voices customers weren’t just shoppers; they were devotees. The company was a chic athleisure brand perfectly positioned to attract millennials, but it was also selling a lifestyle. A lifestyle that helped the brand raise millions in funding. In a profile in 2019, The New Yorker likened Outdoor Voices to Lululemon.

Behind the facade of hashtags and spandex, however, troubled brewed. In 2018, the company was valued at $110 million. (That same year, Outdoor Voices released its exercise dress, a stretchy dress with shorts underneath that inspired copycats galore.) By 2020, that valuation figure had dropped to $40 million. Several senior executives left the company in succession. Ms. Haney and Mickey Drexler, a retail veteran known for his work at Gap and J. Crew who became an investor and chairman of Outdoor Voices in 2017, reportedly did not get along. In February 2020, Ms. Haney stepped down as chief executive, maintaining a seat on the company’s board.

A store manager said she was notified about the store closures on Tuesday and was offered $500 to stay on for the rest of the week. She said it felt like a slap in the face.

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