Kit & Ace cuts staff, closes international stores

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      Local luxury clothing brand Kit & Ace, launched by the family of Lululemon founder Chip Wilson, is laying off a number of its head office staff and closing 32 stores in three countries.

      The layoffs and showroom closures come as the company turns to "simplify its business plans and operations," according to a public statement made by Wilson.

      On Facebook, Wilson published a message on behalf of Hold it All Inc., the Vancouver-based holding company which owns the brand.

      "We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies. Kit and Ace’s focus will shift to its solid Canadian showrooms and an expanded global e-commerce platform. Effective immediately, we’re reducing Kit and Ace’s head office staff and closing its showrooms in the U.S., Australia and the U.K. I believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company," Wilson wrote. 



      Founded by JJ Wilson and Shannon Wilson in 2014, Kit & Ace grew the brand at breakneck speed, with 700 employees and 61 stores by early 2016. Rapid global expansion coincided with rounds of lay offs: ten percent of its head office staff last February and another shortly thereafter in September.

       Kit & Ace sells high-end technical apparel based on athletic design made of  performance fabrics like their trademarked "technical cashmere".

      The company will shift its focus to online sales and its nine Canadian store locations.