Clothing rental business Rent the Runway has decided not to reopen its five bricks-and-mortar stores in the USA due to the Covid-19 pandemic and will focus instead on ecommerce.

Rent the Runway has said it focus future investment on its ecommerce arm and add more drop boxes for customers, CNBC has reported. 

The clothing rental retailer said its New York City flagship store will be turned into a permanent drop-off site, while its stores in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC and San Francisco will close. 

Chief operating officer Anushka Salinas said: “This has been an evolution over the past two to three years. 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.”

The retailer laid off all of its retail staff in March and has been forced to make other cost-cutting measures due to the collapse in demand for its services. 

The clothing rental business said it cut costs by 51% at the beginning of the pandemic and has since raised fresh equity funding. 

Salinas said business has since begun to return. He said: “The vast majority of our subscribers didn’t cancel their accounts. They put them on hold or just kept items at home. That tells me there is optimism.”

Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Rent the Runway co-founder Jenn Hyman said the business would come out of the pandemic stronger than it went in. 

“We repositioned the company financially and structurally to benefit coming out of the pandemic,” she said. “We don’t need people to go back to work. We just need people to leave their home.”