Outdoor Voices Announces Closure of All Physical Stores, Shifts Focus Online

Outdoor Voices Announces Closure of All Physical Stores | The Enterprise World


Outdoor Voices, a prominent athletic apparel company, is set to shutter all its physical retail outlets starting this Sunday, as disclosed by four employees from different stores. These individuals, opting for anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the matter, revealed that the decision came without warning or discussion.

An internal communication circulated via Slack, obtained by The New York Times, elucidated that the company is transitioning towards an exclusive online business model, marking a significant shift in its operational strategy. Notably, the message conveyed that products in stores would be subject to a hefty 50 percent discount as part of the transition process.

Outdoor Voices Announces Closure of All Physical Stores, Shifts Focus Online

This announcement caught many employees off guard, with two expressing surprise at the lack of severance packages being offered in light of the store closures.

Despite repeated attempts to solicit a response, Outdoor Voices has remained silent on the matter, declining to comment on the abrupt shift in its business operations. Established in 2014 by Ty Haney, the brand swiftly gained traction for its understated color palettes and visually appealing designs, resonating strongly with its target audience, particularly on social media platforms.

The brand’s signature hashtag and ethos, #DoingThings, became emblematic of an active lifestyle, garnering a dedicated following who eagerly shared their outdoor pursuits adorned in Outdoor Voices attire. The company’s commitment to community engagement was evident through its various events and initiatives, including group exercise sessions and The Recreationalist editorial platform.

Navigating the Future of Activewear in the Digital Age

For many, Outdoor Voices transcended being merely a clothing retailer; it represented a lifestyle emblematic of modern athleticism and wellness. This unique positioning enabled the brand to secure substantial funding and recognition within the competitive athleisure market. Drawing comparisons to industry giants like Lululemon, Outdoor Voices carved out a niche for itself as a stylish yet accessible activewear brand.

However, beneath its facade of success, cracks began to emerge. Despite reaching a valuation of $110 million in 2018, a steep decline ensued, with the company’s worth plummeting to $40 million by 2020. This tumultuous period saw the departure of several key executives and reported internal conflicts, notably between founder Ty Haney and investor-chairman Mickey Drexler.

In a pivotal moment in February 2020, Haney relinquished her role as chief executive, opting instead for a position on the company’s board. The subsequent years witnessed further turbulence, culminating in the decision to cease all physical retail operations.

Reactions to the store closures varied among employees, with one store manager expressing dismay at the abruptness of the decision and the perceived lack of consideration, exemplified by a nominal compensation offer of $500 for the remaining week of work.

As Outdoor Voices prepares to bid farewell to its brick-and-mortar presence, the brand faces a pivotal juncture in its trajectory, navigating the challenges of an increasingly digital marketplace while striving to uphold its ethos of active living and community engagement.

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