Outside Business Journal

Eddie Bauer Joins Growing Gear-Rental Trend

The outdoor brand and retailer hopes to broaden its consumer base with the launch of the “Rent Your Adventure” program

Eric Smith

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Fresh off its recent acquisition, outdoor brand and retailer Eddie Bauer this week introduced a new revenue stream—and a new way to broaden the outdoors experience—with the addition of apparel and gear rentals.

The Bellevue, Washington-based company said its “Rent Your Adventure” program, which launched this week, aims to reach a new audience of outdoor enthusiasts and remove the barriers to entry—something many industry stakeholders are hoping to accomplish amid the COVID-inspired outdoor activity boom.

“Adventure should be self-prescribed,” said Damien Huang, Eddie Bauer CEO. “It looks different to everyone, and living your adventure can take many forms. Through our first rental program, we hope to reach even more people, offering them the gear, apparel, and resources they need to get outside—whether it’s a hike in their local state park or a backpacking trip they’ve been planning all year.”

In addition to exposing more people to the outdoors, “Rent Your Adventure” was designed to give consumers the “opportunity to try items before they commit to a large purchase, secure quality gear for a ‘once-a-year trip when they need it, or try a new activity altogether,” the company said.

Eddie Bauer said the program’s offerings will include technical rainwear, insulated parkas, and ski jackets, fleece, leggings and joggers, UPF tops and bottoms, boots, hikers, tents, sleeping bags, day packs, and other items. Rentals will cost a “fraction of the full retail price” and can be shipped anywhere in the contiguous United States.

The move comes about two months after Authentic Brands Group LLC (ABG) and mall operator Simon Property Group Inc. announced they’re acquiring Eddie Bauer. Officially, Authentic and SPARC Group LLC—a venture-backed by brand manager Authentic and Simon—will purchase Eddie Bauer from an affiliate of the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, which had owned the retailer and brand for the previous 12 years.

It also comes amid a rental market explosion. Evo recently announced the opening of two new satellite locations that will focus on rentals, and the Seattle retailer also plans to emphasize rental gear and apparel at its second store in Denver, slated to open later this year. Meanwhile, the country’s largest outdoor retailer, REI Co-op, continues to bank on rentals as both an additional revenue stream and a way to bring more participants to outdoor activities.

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