After laying off most of its staff early this year, JackThreads has apparently thrown in the towel entirely. The online men’s apparel retailer is holding a “Farewell Sale,” according to its website, where everything is 70% off. A request from Retail Dive for further details was not immediately returned.
The online menswear company began as a flash sales site in 2008 and was acquired by decade-old media company Thrillist in 2010. The company, in February, was said to be seeking a buyer, according to multiple media reports.
JackThreads in 2015 left the Thrillist fold and later abandoned its flash-sales, members-only approach. Its “TryOuts” service allowed customers to order items without paying unless they decided to keep them, but that was suspended in February.
After initially taking online retail by storm just after the 2008 financial crisis, the flash sales model fell out of favor as inventory buildups of better merchandise tapered off once the recession ebbed. JackThreads was thus forced to find other ways to build its assortment, which caused it to suffer mixed reviews on quality and price. More recently, it began selling higher quality brands like the The North Face, but its free shipping both ways and TryOuts policy may have been costly maneuvers.
The company has been running with just a few employees for the last few months. "A few weeks ago we made changes to meaningfully reduce the burn and to enable these various conversations to reach their conclusions," a spokesperson told Retail Dive in an email in February. "We're confident this effort will help us to finalize one of several deals on the table and to maximize the opportunity for both our employees and investors."
The company, however, is losing customers fast. Many have complained on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere that orders were canceled without notice, refunds on returned merchandise weren’t forthcoming.
Nordstrom’s experience with its Trunk Club concierge service mirrors the difficulty JackThreads has had with the approach. In November, Nordstrom took a massive $197 million write-down on Trunk Club, and in January founder Brian Spaly left his role as head of the unit. The department store retailer acquired Trunk Club in 2014 and later expanding into women’s apparel, but it proved to be a drag on that retailer’s sales. Nordstrom recently instituted a $25 try-on fee and stricter shipping prices for Trunk Club customers, a departure from its free shipping both ways e-commerce policy.