// Allbirds fundraises £76 million to continue expansion
// The retailer now has a £1.2 billion valuation
Allbirds has raised $100 million (£76 million) in an effort to continue expanding its physical store estate, despite the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The wool shoe retailer closed the fundraising round this week, which gave it a $1.7 billion (£1.2 billion) valuation.
The new funding will partly support physical expansion in markets outside the US as well as increasing headcount.
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Allbirds currently employs 404 people but is expecting to increase recruitment in the coming months, which will put an end to a hiring freeze imposed in early February.
The hiring freeze was implemented when Allbirds first noticed a drop in its Chinese sales due to Covid-19 lockdowns.
The retailer will open its 22nd store this month in its home city of San Francisco.
“It sounds crazy in this environment but we are really committed to that channel. We think shopping in stores is going to come back,” Allbirds co-founder Joey Zwillinger said.
“We describe ourselves as slow fashion. The internet has put a lot of pressure on bricks-and-mortar retailers so they put a lot of pressure on the brands for newness.
“That means the brands have to move very fast and then they tend to kind of give up on some things that are important to the world. The antidote to that is to control your own distribution.”
“Sales in China are going to double this year even though the pandemic happened there first.”
In June, Allbirds teamed up with Adidas to launch a project to accelerate solutions in reducing the 700M metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted by the footwear industry each year.
The partnership aims to innovate on manufacturing and supply chain processes in addition to exploring renewable material resources, resulting in a low carbon footprint.
To achieve this, Adidas and Allbirds will open the doors to each other’s suite of sustainable innovations and will set out a new industry standard in the fight against climate change.