store closings: February 2009 Archives

Shrinking Gap

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In response to a drop in sales and profits, clothing retailer Gap announced 100 store closings. It was not stated which of their brands, which include Banana Republic and Old Navy, would be affected by the closings.

This amount of store closings is not high; Gap actually closed 119 stores in 2008. But the net loss of 50 doors is a contrast to last year's 18-store increase.

Iridesse closing

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Tiffany is closing its Iridesse stores. Iridesse, a specialty boutique dedicated to pearls, had 16 stores. Performance was disappointing at the chain, which opened in 2004.

More jewelry store closings

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Multi-brand jeweler Finlay Enterprises is closing 40 stores and exiting its department store businesses to focus on profitable locations. The move affects a wide array of department stores including Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Lord & Taylor, and Dillard's.

Finlay owns specialty jewelry stores Bailey Banks & Biddle, Carlyle & Co. and others. The company did not announce which of these would be affected by the 40 closings.

Virgin Megastores' decreasing "mega"

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Virgin Megastore, the large music and media center that anchors large metropolitan areas, is pulling back. Virgin announced the closing of its Union Square stores in both New York and San Francisco this week, not long after deciding to leave Times Square in New York City.

Virgin Entertainment was bought by two real estate companies in 2007, so the moves are not just retail-driven. The rent for incoming Forever 21 in Times Square will be much higher than Virgin has paid since its 1990s opening. Indeed, this was part of the rationale behind the purchase--good for Related and Vornado, the current owners, if not for the Virgin Megastore brand.

The fate of Virgin's three remaining megastores has not been announced.

Sears store closings

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Sears added 24 stores to its planned closings, more than doubling the amount announced in December. The mass-market department store had previously announced 22 closings. Sears has roughly 900 stores nationwide.

More Zales store closings

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National jeweler Zales is closing 115 stores to improve profitability. The company discounted much of its merchandise in recent months and performance suffered accordingly. Zales closed 105 stores in 2008 based on performance. Zales has more than 2,000 locations.

Goodbye Jimmy'Z

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Clothing retailer Aeropostale is closing its Jimmy'Z stores to focus on other concepts. Jimmy'Z had 11 locations across the country (and was most trendy, I believe, back in the 1980s).

Aeropostale is one of the few bright spots in the apparel market, with strong sales in recent months despite large declines across much of the industry. Jimmy'Z was losing money for its parent company, which will realize a gain from the closures.

Old and local stores, February edition

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The economic downturn is hitting local stores especially hard. Saddest among those affected are the decades-old establishments, many involved in housing and home goods, suddenly facing bankruptcy or liquidation.

Some recent changes of note:

Z Galerie shrinking

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Furniture retailer Z Galerie is closing one-third of its stores to respond to economic conditions. The company, which has a national presence, is slated to have 52 doors when the closures are complete. The affected locations are already holding going-out-of-business sales.

Bealls store closings

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Florida-based retailer Bealls is closing a dozen outlet stores in Florida, Georgia and Arizona to improve efficiencies. The company says the closings are part of an overall strategy and not just a reflection of the economy. Bealls, which operates 500 stores in 13 states, is not to be confused with the Bealls in Texas.

Grocery stores

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Several grocery chains are closing stores in response to the economic slowdown.

Local food markets

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Retailers selling food, typically among the lowest-margin businesses in the nation, are suffering as much as anyone in the rough economy. Some regional stories of note:

Brinker closing restaurants

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Brinker International, which owns casual dining chains such as Chili's and On the Border, has closed 35 restaurants in response to declining sales. The company, which hopes to have more franchised outlets in the future, also sold its Romano's Macaroni Grill chain. Brinker's official filing did not specify the restaurants affected by the closing.

Furniture stores

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Home furnishings continue to suffer in the downturn, with local stores hardest hit.

Pier 1, less 125

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Pier 1 has disclosed plans to cut as many as 125 underperforming stores as a cost-cutting maneuver. The retailer is not yet declaring any store closings (and Timely Demise hesitated posting this news item); instead, it is entering into "negotations for rent reductions" that may lead to the closings. Pier 1, which had been struggling prior to the financial crisis, is making cuts to staff and distribution facilities as well.

Fortunoff misfortune

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Venerable retailer Fortunoff has closed its flagship store and is discussing liquidation and bankruptcy options. The company, which sells jewelry, silverware and home goods products, has been in business since 1922. Fortunoff entered bankruptcy a year ago and was purchased by the same parent company as Lord & Taylor.

Fortunoff moved its flagship Manhattan store to 57th Street just off Fifth Avenue in autumn 2007, vacating its old Fifth Avenue location at its landlord's request. The lease at West 57th expired last month, suggesting the move was temporary in nature and the closing expected internally. The company's website notes the closed location without further comment. Another 20 stores are reportedly still open for business.

Update: Fortunoff filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy as expected Thursday Feb. 5. The company hopes to be acquired; if not, the chain will close rather than reorganize.

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

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the store closings category from February 2009.

store closings: January 2009 is the previous archive.

store closings: March 2009 is the next archive.

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