Wednesday, March 13, 2024

[ALERT] Athleisure Brand Goes Quiet, Plans to Close All Retail Stores

Upstart athletic apparel business Outdoor Voices will close all of its retail stores this week and return to an online only model.  The lone Atlanta store, situated in The Krog District (124 Krog Street), has barely been open a year, having debuted February 17, 2023.   

The shop, which carried apparel for men and women, occupied a 2,185 square foot space in a development also home to solid co-tenants like Patagonia and Specialized, among others. 

According to the company's website, there are currently 15 stores open with a sixteenth, in Miami, "coming soon."  A location planned for Buckhead, on which we first reported in 2021, is no longer listed on the website, but as of last month was still wrapped in Outdoor Voices branding as if it were still opening.  

The Krog District shop, located near the Atlanta BeltLine, is decorated to pay homage to the 1996 Olympics, with a makeshift track encircling the shop’s floor.

All stores are closing Sunday, March 17, and are currently offering 50 percent off all in-stock merchandise.  

24 year old Parsons School of Design graduate Tyler Haney started Outdoor Voices (OV) in 2013 as a DTC (direct-to-consumer) brand before opening her first storefront in 2014 in the company's home market of Austin, Texas.  

In early 2020, after assorted internal struggles, Haney left the company but returned a few months later only to leave again shortly thereafter, this time for good. (More on that here)  According to several reports, Haney struggled to work with Mickey Drexler, the well-known retail executive who had previously led J.Crew and Gap, and joined OV as an investor and Chairman in 2018.  

We visited the company's 12 South store in Nashville earlier in 2021, but in researching for this post, discovered that it had abruptly closed this past January.  The company also shuttered its flagship store in Austin's South Congress neighborhood about a year ago.       

Outdoor Voices, which describes its products as "technical apparel for recreation," competes with several other specialty retailers offering similar products, such as lululemon, Alo Yoga, Athleta, Vuori, and Fabletics in addition to sub-brands from legacy retailers such as FP Movement (Free People) and OFFLINE by Aerie (American Eagle). 

Lululemon, with a dozen full-line stores and one outlet in Georgia, remains the dominant force in the so-called "athleisure" category, but new players such as Alo and Viori are vying for market share.  Alo opened its first Atlanta store in Lenox Square this past July and Vuori plans to open its first store at Buckhead Village District later this summer.  

Are you a fan of Outdoor Voices?  What is your favorite athletic apparel retailer?  Why do you think the brand has struggled so much?

Please share your thoughts below. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Eli, your journalism is always very well researched, very relevant, and very interesting. Thanks for all you do!

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