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Clothing brand Outdoor Voices announces it will close all stores

Outdoor Voices, a famed athleisure brand, will reportedly close all its stores on 17 March.

According to the remarks of four employees at four separate stores, who remained anonymous, the fashion company will no longer serve customers in person. Some store employees were notified of the closures via Slack on 13 March. In the messages obtained by The New York Times, staffers were told: “Outdoor Voices is embarking on a new chapter as we transition to an exclusively online business.”

There are 16 stores listed on the company’s website. According to the Slack notification, all in-store inventory will be marked down by 50 per cent.

Two employees told The New York Times that they were completely stunned by the news and that they were allegedly not offered severance packages, only $500 to store managers to continue working for the rest of the week.

USA Today reported: “Few corporate or retail workers were offered severance or compensation.”

“Store managers were offered $500 to stay throughout the weekend. A few accepted, many declined and said it felt like an absolute slap in the face,” an employee explained .

As of 14 March, USA Today updated their report after an employee said other full-time store staffers were being offered severance packages “due to backlash”.

The Independent has contacted Outdoor Voices for a comment.

Outdoor Voices was founded in 2014 by Ty Haney. Her long-rumoured exit as CEO in 2020 began when she was on maternity leave, according to The Cut. Haney was being smothered with bad press, people supposedly accusing her of being bad at her job.

In 2018, the colourful retailer was valued at $110m, riding a high before releasing what would become a staple style for not just the company but in the realm of athleisurewear for women – the exercise dress with built-in shorts. Unfortunately, the increasing success didn’t persist for the following two years. By 2020, Haney’s exit was matched with a $70m value drop.

Though the “technical apparel” conglomerate has faced competition from other exercise fashion lines like Lululemon, Alo, and Set Active, Outdoor Voices has managed to build a loyal following, hosting sponsored workout classes and pushing the hashtag, #DoingThings.