Allbirds Bets on Physical Stores Despite Pandemic

Allbirds, the wool shoe brand that closed a $100m fundraising round this week, is backing bricks-and-mortar stores in spite of the pandemic, according to Financial Times journalist Jonathan Moules. Moules writes that the new funding – which gives Allbirds a $1.7bn valuation – will partly support physical expansion in markets outside the US as well as increasing headcount.

Allbirds currently employs 404 people but will add to that number in the coming months. This will end a hiring freeze imposed in early February when Allbirds first noticed a dip in its Chinese sales due to Covid-19 lockdowns, Moules writes.

The company, which made its name as a direct online seller, will open its 22nd store this month in its home city of San Francisco. More will follow next year, according to Zwillinger, who co-founded the business with New Zealander Tim Brown, in 2015.

“It sounds crazy in this environment but we are really committed to that channel. We think [shopping in stores] is going to come back,” Zwillinger said. “Sales in China are going to double this year even though the pandemic happened there first.

Original article by Jonathan Moules, Financial Times, October 3, 2020.

Tags: AllBirds  COVID-19  Financial Times  Tim Brown  

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