January 15, 2014, 8:59 AM

Threadless closes its only physical store and lays off workers

The once again web-only seller of quirky apparel announced a shift in strategy via a blog post and a sign on the door of its retail location.

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A look at the Gap and Threadless partnership

Threadless.com, a  T-shirt retailer that creates shirts based on artist designs voted upon by Threadless community members, closed its bricks-and-mortar retail location this week and laid off some of its employees, according to a blog post by CEO Jake Nickell. 

“I just made one of the most difficult decisions in the 13 years since Threadless began. As a result of this decision, I had to let many of my friends and colleagues know that they no longer have a place here working at Threadless,” Nickell writes in the post.

Threadless did not say how many employees were laid off.  A Threadless spokesman says the retailer wants to continue to help artists make money from their work, but declines to give more details about the company’s future.  

“To that end, we have recently let some Threadless employees go that fall under the areas we are no longer supporting. However, we will continue to invest in strategic initiatives including our technology platform and digital endeavors,” the spokesman says.

Threadless products have been sold via other retailers. Last year, for instance, The Gap Inc., No. 19 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, rolled out a line of T-shirts designed by Threadless customers.

Threadless is owned by SkinnyCorp LLC and is No. 356 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide.  The site launched in 2000 and opened its only retail location in 2007 on the North Side of Chicago.  The retailer’s web sales increased 20% to $36 million in 2012 from $30 million in 2011, according to the Top 500 Guide.

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