Why own when you could rent? It’s not a question reserved real estate brokers anymore. In the hopes of combating increasingly dwindling sales, Neiman Marcus is now devoting part of its floor space to e-commerce start-up, Rent the Runway.
Starting Friday, the department store’s San Francisco outpost will feature its first rentable wares in a 3,000-square-foot boutique. More openings are scheduled throughout the country in the coming year.
“One of our primary goals is to attract new customers to Neiman Marcus, and I think that because Rent the Runway has developed relationships with these young women who love fashion, we’re going to learn a lot,” Neiman Marcus Chief Executive Officer Karen Katz told Bloomberg.
Founded in 2009, Rent the Runway has now raised $126 million and is comprised of seven standalone shops as well as its e-commerce site. While traditionally, retailers have worried clothing rental operations would cut into their bottom line of full-price merchandise, Neiman’s is hoping embracing this “shared economy” will attract a younger clientele to its site and allow women to try out brands that they are currently unfamiliar with.
“We’re in some ways running toward the shared economy instead of running away, because clearly the shared economy is here to stay,” Katz said. “Whether it’s Rent the Runway or Uber, any of the ways people are participating in the shared economy, it’s part of our world today.” [Bloomberg]