Can A New CMO Revitalize Rent The Runway?


Just weeks after laying off 10% of the corporate staff, Rent the Runway has hired Natalie McGrath as its new chief marketing officer. She is the first CMO in four years, and the hire comes after much tumult.

The company’s stock price continues to hover below $1 a share, a sure sign that investors are concerned about its survival.

The New York-based company is hiring McGrath, who has worked at Afterpay, to reinvigorate the brand’s focus and help return to growth.

McGrath will manage all aspects of the customer journey, including brand and growth marketing, creative services, public relations and customer service. She has also held key marketing roles at BooHoo Group PLC, Coach and Alexander Wang. She started her career at Net-a-Porter, another digital fashion disruptor.

Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman says in the announcement: “We are focused on supercharging our market share by creating emotional and lasting connections with our core customers--and reaching net-new audiences.”



In the most recent quarterly results, Hyman said the decision to lower marketing spending had been prudent, although it resulted in a lower subscriber count and instead focused on improving inventory.

“In other words,” she told investors on a call that was webcast, “we acquired fewer customers by design, but the customers we have acquired are more profitable.”

The announcement, says McGrath, will start with a “renewed focus on workwear, one of the core use cases for a Rent the Runway subscription,” including new product, experiential and influencer work scheduled for this spring.

The company’s most recent quarterly results showed that revenue fell 6.3% to $72.5 million from $77.4 million in the third quarter of the previous fiscal year, while active subscribers fell 2% to 131,725.

Net losses for the quarter eased to $31.5 million, compared to a loss of $36.1 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2022.

The company also announced significant changes to the existing debt structure, acknowledging that concerns over debt debt are “the elephant in the room” regarding investor wariness of the once high-flying brand.

Rent the Runway continues to see “green shoots” and signs that growth is just ahead. Those include the highest customer satisfaction scores since before COVID, the appeal of the new luxury evening wear category, and a 50% increase in product sales, as customers increasingly view Rent the Runway as a “try before you buy” service.

Next story loading loading..