As Supply Chain Issues Mount, Rent The Runway Pauses Membership Program Until Oct.15

  • September 27, 2019 at 9:14 PM EDT
  • By Glenn Taylor
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Rent the Runway will not accept new members into its clothing rental program until Oct. 15, according to a note posted on the company web site. The pause comes as the fashion rental company faced a deluge of customer complaints related to delayed deliveries in recent weeks. The issue has become so severe that the company also announced that Chief Supply Officer Marv Cunningham would depart from Rent the Runway at the end of the month.

Co-Founder and CEO Jenn Hyman sent an email to current subscribers the morning of Sept. 27, saying: “The delays, which began Sept. 13, are due to unforeseen issues associated with a significant software transformation that we are executing in our fulfillment operation. Our technical team is working to fix these issues as quickly as possible.” In a conversation with Bloomberg, Hyman revealed that the problems started when the company installed new software in its New Jersey warehouse, directly impacting the number of orders that could be shipped each day.

The company also revealed that it will issue full refunds and give an additional $200 in cash to customers who made a one-off order but had it canceled because of the supply chain problems. Hyman told Bloomberg she didn’t feel it was right to only offer credit to spend at Rent the Runway. 

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Customers will not be able to order one-time rentals until Oct. 15. While shoppers will continue to receive their subscription orders, there may be delays of an additional one to two days until Oct. 15. The note advises shoppers to order “a few days in advance of your normal schedule.”

Any order that has already been placed for delivery on or after Oct. 7 will be shipped.

The supply chain issue certainly must have caught the attention of the numerous retailers that have adopted similar subscription-based rental models, such as Bloomingdale’s, Urban Outfitters, Banana Republic, ExpressAmerican Eagle, Ann Taylor and New York & Co. 

The Rent the Runway services include an “Unlimited” plan, which allows users to rent four garments at any given time with the option to swap them for $159 per month, as well as an “Update” plan for $89 per month that allows customers to rent a single set of four items monthly. Earlier this year, Rent the Runway debuted rentals of home goods with West Elm and added a children’s clothing rental option.

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