apparel: November 2008 Archives

Charming Shoppes store closings

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Charming Shoppes, the parent company of Fashion Bug, Lane Bryant and Catherine's Plus, is closing 100 stores, bringing to 250 the number of outlets it is shutting. The company hopes to achieve cost savings in excess of $100 million. Most of the closings will be Fashion Bug outlets but the other names will be affected. Same-store sales at all three lines are down significantly this fall.

Western Warehouse

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Retailer BTWW is beginning liquidation of all its stores. BTWW, which operates apparel stores in the midwest and west such as Western Warehouse and Boot Town, filed for bankruptcy earlier in the month, and hopes to use the holiday season to clear out inventory. BTWW had poorly performing stores, significant debt and failed attempts at restructuring before succumbing to its bankruptcy filing. The company was established in 1975.

Steve and Barry's liquidating

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Despite a private equity buyout earlier in the year, Steve & Barry's stores will be selling all merchandising and closing the entire business in the coming months. The chain previously announced more than 100 store closings but was planning to run 173 existing stores. A lack of financing for continuing operations, caused by soft sales, resulted in the about-face. Affiliates of the new owners filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday.

Growth slowdowns

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Many large retailers are announcing cutbacks in store openings for 2009. Staples is planning to limit capital spending and reduce store openings by by 30% next year, while Coldwater Creek revised its 2009 store openings plan to 15 stores rather than 40. Other retailers will be considering similar approaches, which will be noted in this space as they are announced.

Retail sales "collapse"

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Yesterday's industry-wide retail news was incredibly bleak--so much so that the nation's leading newspapers reached for uncommon adjectives to describe it.

Whatever the word, the industry's news was full of negative figures from a variety of retailers. Only discount chains like Wal-Mart were able to post gains in an industry that saw an 11.7% dip overall.

Among the reports:
  • Neiman Marcus -28% (WSJ: "staggering") including a 23% online and catalog decline
  • Abercrombie & Fitch -20%
  • Saks Inc. -17%
  • Gap -16%
  • Nordstrom -16%
  • J.C. Penney Co. -13%
  • American Eagle -12%
  • Kohl's Corp. -9%
  • Limited -9%
The Los Angeles Times' report does list a very good October for American Apparel, the lone brand with a double-digit increase.

Libby Lu

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Saks Incorporated, parent company of the Saks Fifth Avenue chain, is discontinuing its Club Libby Lu girls' store operations. Club Libby Lu, aimed at girls 4 to 12 years old, had both standalone stores and outlets in Saks locations. The closure is not out of line for Saks, which has been streamlining its business holdings for several years to focus on its core brand.

Timely Demise tracks the retail industry as it changes with our unprecedented economic environment. By David Wertheimer. Did I miss something? Drop me a line.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the apparel category from November 2008.

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apparel: December 2008 is the next archive.

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