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Dive Brief:

  • Warby Parker is laying off 63 corporate employees — 2% of its total workforce and 15% of its corporate workforce, the DTC eyewear brand said on Tuesday. 

  • The reductions don’t affect customer-facing jobs in retail or customer experience, or at the brand’s in-house optical labs, according to an internal memo from Warby Parker co-chief executives Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa obtained by Retail Dive. 

  • In their note to employees, Blumenthal and Gilboa cited “significant volatility and uncertainty” in the global economy, resulting in changes to consumer behavior. Last year, Warby Parker’s revenue rose 37.4% to $540.8 million, while net loss widened by $88.4 million to $144.3 million due to rising SG&A expenses.

Dive Insight:

Warby Parker’s move follows a spate of corporate downsizing at a range of retailers in recent days, including DTC brands Allbirds and Glossier, and retail giant Walmart.

“While this was an incredibly difficult decision, we are making these changes to enable us to operate in a more focused and nimble manner and to capitalize more efficiently on our highest impact opportunities,” the company said in an email.

The news was first reported by Business Insider.

With more than 160 stores across the U.S. and Canada, the 12-year-old brand has one of the largest brick-and-mortar footprints among DTC retailers, and the fact that its plans won’t impact existing stores suggests that channel is doing well. The company didn’t immediately respond to questions about how its new strategy might affect its previously announced plans to open 40 more stores this year. In March, Blumenthal told analysts that third-party research indicated the brand could grow its store base to more than 900 locations.

DTC brands have also increasingly turned to wholesale. Research shows that channel often stokes revenue at higher-than-expected margins.

Without elaborating, Blumenthal and Gilboa told employees that the company is “making these changes to enable us to operate in a more focused and nimble manner and to capitalize more efficiently on our highest impact opportunities.”



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