It’s a sad day for retail. Another of our favourites, Kit and Ace, has today announced it will be closing all of its stores across Australia, the US and the UK.
The announcement came via a Facebook post by the company, which described the change as a “simplifying of operations.” It will see Kit and Ace shift focus to its Canadian stores and a global e-commerce platform.
Kit and Ace was launched in 2014 by Lululemon founder, Chip Wilson, with a focus on technical product and aggressive growth. This strategy saw the retailer open 61 stores in five countries over just two years.
Now, the retailer will leave just nine of its stores open. The other stores are set to close immediately.
Sadly, it’s not all that surprising. The company announced in September it would be closing a quarter of its stores. It also made 20 per cent of its Vancouver employees redundant.
“We recognize [sic] the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies,” Wilson said in a circulated statement.
“We believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company. Fewer stores require fewer people. We remain deeply grateful for the creativity and commitment of those leaving the company and thank them for their valuable contribution."
There’s been a lot of backlash, too. After sharing the news on Facebook, the company was quickly accused of laying off staff without notice.
One Facebook user wrote:
“For those who dont know [sic], they gave their employees no notice. Many woke up today went to work just to find the doors were locked with a sign letting them know they were basically fired immediately.”
Another user claimed that many staff woke up this morning to learn they were out of jobs via social media.
It’s a pretty sad example of the delicate nature of bricks-and-mortar retail at the moment. For now, we mourn.