RYU retrenches to a single Vancouver store

Activewear company to close Toronto and New York stores to focus on online sales

ryu - gk
RYU has a large sign outside its Vancouver store at 1745 West 4th Avenue | Glen Korstrom

Vancouver-based activewear company RYU Apparel Inc. (TSX-V:RYU) is closing its stores in Toronto, and in Brooklyn, New York in a pivot that will see the company primarily focus on online sales, and store-in-store partnerships.

Its store at 1745 West 4th Avenue, which includes its head office, will remain open. The Brooklyn store was to have closed earlier this week, while the last day for the Toronto store is set to be March 27.

In late 2019, RYU had nine stores.

"With the continued shift to online shopping, our strategy as a digital-first company is expected to maximize the performance of our capital," said COO Rob Blair. 

RYU's previous corporate strategy was to be primarily a bricks-and-mortar retailer. 

Its CEO pre-pandemic, Marcello Leone, told BIV in May 2017 that he foresaw the company having 100 stores by 2027.

Leone left RYU in April 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged corporate sales. Large shareholders wanted a shake-up. The company paid Leone and what the company called his affiliates and associates a $1.845 million settlement, and Cesare Fazari, described in a RYU press release at the time as a "significant investor," took the corporate reins as CEO.

The company has been losing money for years. Its most recent reported quarter, ended September 30, saw it lose more than $2.9 million on $313,986 in revenue. 

Revenue for that same quarter was $1,473,136 pre-pandemic. Sales were then more than decimated by the pandemic, with revenue for that quarter coming in at $103,258 in 2020.