Nordstrom and Rent the Runway are expanding their tie-up, launched in Los Angeles in June, with the apparel rental service next week bringing its drop-off boxes to 24 more Nordstrom locations nationwide. At the moment five Nordstrom stores offer the Rent the Runway service, according to a press release from the companies emailed to Retail Dive.
Nordstrom is also becoming an "RTR Platform partner," which entails "contributing inventory to the RTR ecosystem to extend the lifecycle of Nordstrom products," the companies said. They are also together exploring the development of exclusive products that could be either bought or rented, they said.
For now, Rent the Runway members can return items to the participating Nordstrom stores, which in addition to Los Angeles will be found in San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas, among other cities, beginning Monday.
It's early days in this partnership, but customers in five stores in Los Angeles have already appreciated it, Jamie Nordstrom, Nordstrom president of stores, said in a statement on Friday.
At a time when e-commerce growth is outpacing wider retail, several innovative partnerships between online and offline retailers have emerged, including Kohl's accepting Amazon returns and Target selling Casper mattresses. And Nordstrom isn't the first brick-and-mortar partner for Rent the Runway, which previously installed its drop boxes at 15 WeWork locations in six cities (the count has ticked up to 19 since the initial launch, according to the company website). WeWork also hosted Rent the Runway pop-ups at several locations.
It's hard to find a better match than Rent the Runway and Nordstrom, which both trade in more upscale apparel and emphasize customer service. Trained stylists will be available at the Nordstrom locations to work with Rent the Runway members "to build out their ideal closet with a mix of rented and owned items from RTR & Nordstrom," Rent the Runway previously said.
Nordstrom is placing renewed emphasis on high-touch services like tailoring and styling, and for a limited time right now, gift wrapping. Indeed, the expansion comes just as the holidays are revving up, at a time when consumers not only buy more but also avail themselves of services to make their busy lives easier.
Speaking to analysts during the recent debut of its New York City flagship, co-President Erik Nordstrom said the company was exploring resale and rental, among the hottest segments in apparel at the moment. It's no wonder, then, that the two companies are looking to team up beyond just installations of boxes in stores to manage inventory and develop exclusives.