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Rent the Runway Files for IPO as Business Recovers From Pandemic

Rent the Runway shows signs of recovery in 2021 after subscribers fell and its net loss grew during the pandemic.

Popular fashion rental company Rent the Runway filed a Form S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday, announcing its intention to go public on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol RENT. 

The company said that while the pandemic hampered its business, as fewer people needed luxury fashion while quarantining at home, it has seen a rebound in 2021. 

"We look forward to bringing the magic of Rent the Runway to more customers, and to any thing we don't need or want to own forever. Our flexible platform has the potential to power not just the Closet in the Cloud - but our lives in the cloud," co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman said. 

The company saw its reported net loss rise to $171.1 million in 2020 from $153.9 million in 2019 while its revenue fell to $157.5 million from $256.9 million over the same time period. 

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The company generates revenue from its subscription, reservation and resale services, but the majority of its revenue comes from subscriptions, which fell sharply during the pandemic. 

The company's total subscriber count fell to 95,245 in 2020 from 147,866 the prior year. Rent the Runway's active subscriber count fell to 54,797 from 133,572 during that time.

However, the company has seen a rebound in 2021 with total subscribers rising to 126,841 and active subscribers climbing to 97,614 in the first six months of the year.

Rent the Runway says that consumer trends toward access and away from ownership makes its business model viable. The company notes that subscription models accounted for 64% of the music market, 71% of the U.S. home entertainment market and 17% of the U.S. hospitality market.