Kit and Ace had 41 stores worldwide last month | Kit and Ace

Vancouver-based fashion retailer Kit and Ace is closing 32 stores located outside Canada and laying off staff at its Vancouver head office while shifting its business’ focus to its nine Canadian stores and its online store, the company announced April 26.

Kit and Ace president Wendy Bennison has also been let go.

The family of Lululemon Athletica Inc. founder Chip Wilson founded Kit and Ace in 2014 and rapidly expanded the company to 700 employees and 61 stores in early 2016. Growing pains forced layoffs, and the company’s store count fell to 41 stores as of last month.

Nine Canadian stores will stay open, including locations in Gastown and West 4th Avenue in Vancouver.

“We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies,” said Wilson, who is a founder and principal of Hold It All Inc., which owns Kit and Ace.

Wilson is effectively acting as Kit and Ace’s president, said Dierdre…