TECHNOLOGY

Urban Outfitters takes on Rent the Runway

BY Dan Berthiaume

Specialty retailer Urban Outfitters is officially a member of the rapidly-expanding apparel rental club.

Initially announced in May, Urban Outfitters’ monthly apparel rental subscription service known as Nuuly went live on July 30. For $88 a month, consumers can select any six items from the retailer’s namesake, Free People and Anthropologie brands, along with third-party labels and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

The company is managing the online rental process with a custom-built digital platform. A dedicated warehouse and fulfillment center outside Philadelphia houses state-of-the-art laundry equipment operated by veteran laundry technicians.

Nuuly is stocking over 1,000 styles at launch, with plans to add over 100 new styles a week and triple the style count by year’s end, according to the company. The assortment spans a wide range of categories and sizes (00-26).

Urban’s entry into clothing rental comes as other traditional retailers, including American Eagle and Express, are testing variations of the model. Rent the Runway is an originator and leader in the category, with total valuation of $1 billion, five dedicated stores, and collaborations with a diverse set of partners including West Elm, Nordstrom, and WeWork.

The online clothing rental market size is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2023, according to Allied Market Research.

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