Mar 13, 2024 - Culture

Outdoor Voices to close all retail stores, employees say

Exterior of the Outdoor Voices retail store in Austin.

Austin's Outdoor Voices retail store is not long for this world. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

Austin-founded athleisure brand Outdoor Voices is shuttering retail stores nationwide and moving online, several former employees told Axios.

Why it matters: Outdoor Voices took a big bet with prime locations in many of the country's fastest-growing cities, but the storefronts were short-lived, some lasting only a year or two.

Driving the news: Current and former Outdoor Voices employees at stores in Austin, Denver, Atlanta, Charlotte, New York, Houston and San Diego told Axios reporters that their stores would shutter by Sunday.

  • Outdoor Voices did not return Axios' requests for comment.

What they're saying: One Austin employee who worked on the company's marketing team said they and other employees were suddenly laid off in brief meetings Tuesday.

  • "It was very sudden," the former employee, who asked not to be named out of fear of retaliation, told Axios. "Store teams were told by their manager — who were also laid off — that effective as of end of day Sunday that every single one of our Outdoor Voices stores are closing as well."
  • They were told the brand is moving to online only.
  • An employee in Denver, who also asked to not be named out of fear of retaliation, told Axios' Alayna Alvarez that they and other retail workers did not receive severance pay.

Zoom in: An internal message obtained by Axios told retail employees that "Outdoor Voices is embarking on a new chapter as we transition to an exclusively online business."

  • The messaging was sent over Slack as instructions for what to tell customers about the transition.

Flashback: Founder Ty Haney abruptly left the company in 2020 and has been vocal about her displeasure with how the brand has changed in recent years.

  • "It's kind of sickening to see how low it's gotten," Haney said in an interview with The Cut in August. "I feel sad for it."
  • The closures come after months of massive markdowns and the closure of its flagship store in Austin's Clarksville neighborhood.
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