Athletic apparel retailer Outdoor Voices closes stores abruptly to focus on online business

Athletic apparel retailer Outdoor Voices closes stores abruptly to focus on online business

Outdoor Voices, an athletic clothing brand based in Austin, abruptly closed all 16 of its stores this week.

The only Dallas store was at NorthPark Center and it was closed Thursday. Stores were located in major US markets including Austin and Houston.

Ty Haney, CEO and founder of the brand in 2014, has been away from daily operations since early 2020 when he resigned while keeping a seat on the board. Haney started the brand in New York City and moved its headquarters to Austin in 2017.

The New York Times first reported the store closings on Wednesday, quoting employees who asked not to be identified and an internal Slack message shared by employees. According to The Timesthe message said “Outdoor Voices is embarking on a new chapter as we transition to an exclusively online business.”

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According to published reports, Haney left Outdoor Voices due to disagreements with Mickey Drexler, a longtime retail executive formerly at The Gap and J. Crew, who was an investor in the brand.

Store employees were surprised by the closings, according to The Times stories. One manager said he was offered $500 to stay on for the rest of the week.

The brand, which sells women’s and men’s stylish athletic apparel and is known for its “Doing Things” exercise dress, at one time was referred to as the next Lululemon.

In addition to its e-commerce business and stores, Outdoor Voices apparel is also sold by other retailers such as REI and Nordstrom through its wholesale operations. Both retailers were discounting the brand this week, matching slashed prices at Outdoor Voices store closing sales this week. The company hasn’t made any public statements about the brand’s future.

X: @MariaHalkias

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