May 23, 2014, 4:05 PM

Apparel brand Bonobos hires a director of retail

Ron Thurston will lead the bricks-and-mortar outposts for clothing brands Bonobos and Ayr where consumers place orders from online delivery.

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Bonobos Inc., the parent company of men’s clothing brand Bonobos and women’s clothing brand Ayr, hired retail veteran Ron Thurston as its director of retail. Thurston will head up the company’s eight Guideshops, which allow consumers to try on products and order them from the brand’s e-commerce site. The stores themselves carry no inventory.

In addition to overseeing the existing shops, Thurston will manage the opening of shops in Dallas and Los Angeles in the coming months. Bonobos says he will also work with corporate and regional teams on store design, merchandising, product assortment and real estate decisions.

Prior to Bonobos, Thurston served as the west coast regional manager for Tory Burch LLC. Thurston also worked at Apple Inc., overseeing six retail locations. He also held positions at Gap Inc. and Williams-Sonoma Inc.

“While we believe the future is digital, we understand that great in-person experiences aren’t going anywhere,” says Andy Dunn, CEO and founder of Bonobos Inc. “Ron’s hybrid experience across Apple, Gap and Tory Burch will help us continue to reinvent what clothing shopping means in an increasingly digital world.

The Guideshops provide a twist on “showrooming,” where consumers check out a product in-store but ultimately buy online; where most store-based retailers view showrooming as a threat, Bonobos seeks to turn it into a sales vehicle. 58% of adult smartphone owners engage in showrooming, according to a survey by rewards and incentives company Parago. Bonobos launched its e-commerce site in 2007, and opened its first Guideshop until 2011.

“I’m amazed that Bonobos Inc. has created a way of shopping that doesn’t involve walking out of a store with bags of clothing,” Thurston says. “They’re truly redefining the way people shop in stores and over the web.”

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