Rent the Runway had a particularly difficult time surviving as COVID-19 hit the fashion industry hard. In-person events like weddings and cocktail parties, the kind of thing customers rented the company's dresses for, became impossible. Co-founder and CEO Jenn Hyman restructured the entire business, pivoting to e-commerce, shuttering stores and laying off employees in the process. Now, the clothing rental startup is going public soon in its latest step to bounce back after the pandemic.

The confidential IPO was announced in a statement Monday, though it’s unclear exactly when its public debut will occur, and the company didn't specify a price range or total number of shares. The move comes as several other e-commerce businesses announce their own public debuts, including Allbirds and VTEX.

During the pandemic, Rent the Runway’s valuation went down from $1 billion to $750 million. Hyman was forced to close physical stores, which mostly existed for customers to return clothing rentals, something that could be done by mail. Hyman then cut the company’s expenses by 51% by laying off hundreds of employees.

Now, the fashion industry is seeing a resurgence. Retailers like Macy’s and TJ Maxx saw demand bounce back in 2021. Rent the Runway is no exception — since May 2020, there has been a 92% increase in active subscribers.

According to our data, Rent the Runway currently has 786 employees, down from its pre-pandemic high of 1,230. Because of layoffs occurring over the last year, the employee headcount reached a low of 743 in April 2021. The company’s currently ramping up hiring in an attempt to rebuild. 

Rent the Runway’s job listings began dipping in February 2020 before bottoming out to one listing at the height of the pandemic. In the past year, however, listings have steadily ticked up, rising 609% year-to-date to 78 — that’s almost as many as the company’s all-time high of 85, indicating promising growth.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online, jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings, and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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