Rent the Runway to enter fast-fashion market

Online apparel rental site Rent the Runway is now looking to compete in the fast-fashion market with retailers such as H&M and Forever 21.

The five-year-old business has become the go-to online rental destination for shoppers seeking designer outfits for special occasions, reported Women's Wear Daily.

The site offers more than 1,000 handbags, sunglasses, scarves, outerwear, hats and jewelry pieces for members—who pay $75 a month to belong. A monthly subscription allows members to receive three items at a time, which they can keep for as long as they want. Accessories can also be rented individually for a four- or eight-day rental period.

However, the co-founder and CEO, Jennifer Hyman, has been looking to focus the brand on everyday style.

"We really wanted to attack Zara and H&M head on," Hyman told WWD. "When there is a trend and you want to update, the mass-market customer will go to H&M or Zara and buy something disposable—[they] buy [this] like junk food." In the interview, Hyman announced Rent the Runway's Unlimited business, which she calls Rent the Runway 2.0.

The site has close to 5 million members that are age 29 on average. The user base has grown 126 percent year-over-year. Not including the Unlimited business, Hyman predicts the site will have rented the equivalent of $600 million in retail value by the end of the year.

The company is also rolling out a new branding strategy to elevate the look and feel of the company. This will include a new logo, websites and luxe packaging for the fourth quarter.

Unlimited will be the first time that Rent the Runway has offered everyday clothing. And to further retail efforts, the company will offer customers the chance to buy rented items at a discounted rate via Try to Buy, starting in February.

Fast fashion, which means looks go from the runway to stores within weeks, is helping retailers such as H&M and Zara quickly rise in the ranks as top revenue producers in women's apparel. Other struggling companies, such as Abecrombie & Fitch, have had to reposition their brands to compete.

For more:
-See this WWD article

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