The brand has permanently laid off at least 70 employees, WWD has learned, a mix of retail and corporate workers, and furloughed essentially the rest of its staff for the time being. The layoffs affect operations in the U.S., where it has 30 stores, including several outlet locations.
A company representative confirmed there were layoffs without specifying how many people were affected, but said there was a reduction in employees across the whole of corporate and retail. The representative insisted that there are still some employees actively working, but refused to give any idea as to how many. Sources have claimed that layoffs and furloughs have affected the entire company.
“A comprehensive assessment of all areas within the business was made to maintain the critical needs of the organization,” the company said in a statement.
Those who lost their jobs with Rag & Bone permanently were given severance and assistance with health-care benefits. According to state notices filed in New York and California, which only cover workers in those states, at least 220 Rag & Bone workers have been laid off or furloughed.
As for those on furlough, the company did not say it has a planned date for when they will be put back to work, only that it will be “as soon as it’s possible.”
A number of other brands have also laid off and furloughed workers, from Everlane to Chrome Hearts to H&M, as business and consumer habits have been upended by state measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus. In most U.S. states, particularly on the East and West Coasts, people have been ordered to stay home since March, when nonessential businesses were also ordered closed.
Rag & Bone declined to comment on whether the permanent reduction in staff would mean its retail footprint would be permanently reduced as well.
California, where the brand has six stores (two of which are outlets), has just started to allow retailers and related manufacturers to begin operating again while abiding by new guidelines. Stores can only offer curbside pickup for online and phone orders, although a number of retailers in L.A. have their doors open and are attempting to sell things in person despite no one being allowed to actually shop inside of a store. But Rag & Bone stores, along with a number of other apparel-only retailers, are not yet open in any capacity.
The brand has 42 stores overall, with a couple of stores in London, also under lockdown, and several in Taiwan, Japan and Korea, countries that have been on lockdown to some extent for almost the entire year so far.
Rag & Bone has also been without a chief executive officer since the beginning of 2019, when Stefanie Strack left the brand after only five months’ time, with the company citing a difference in “visions for the strategic direction of the company.” Marcus Wainwright, cofounder of the brand, took over in the interim, but the company was said to be actively searching for a replacement for Strack. When she was named, Wainwright, who had been ceo, moved onto the title of chief brand officer. His most recent collection was fall 2020, shown in February.
When Strack joined the brand in mid-2018, it was in an effort to accelerate Rag & Bone’s direct-to-consumer efforts, which with the coronavirus has suddenly become the only way for most brands to do business.
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