Jasmine Sola: Rip Her To Shreds

Jasmine Sola Store

There’s an interesting article in today’s Boston Globe about the impending demise of Jasmine Sola, a trendy, upscale women’s clothier that had until recently been on a meteoric rise. The story details how Jasmine Sola went from a carefully-curated boutique in Cambridge, Massachusetts to a booming regional chain known for its colorful stores and high-end (yet young-skewing) merchandise before being sold to New York and Company, who in only two years managed to overexpand and destroy the chain’s merchandise mix. The way they neglected to cater their merchandise mix to individual markets is also somewhat reminiscent to many of the complaints about the national strategy employed by Macy’s:

“Manganella, an Italian immigrant who started Jasmine in 1970 with a $2,500 loan from his mother, had relied on instinct, not science or financial spreadsheets. He learned about women’s clothing from his mother and sister, both seamstresses, and developed a keen sense of style. At Jasmine, named after the flower, he had given space to unknown designers, which made his boutique a fashion icon for teens and twentysomethings…

“Meanwhile, New York & Co. began changing the formula that made Jasmine a success, narrowing the number of brands offered, buying lower-end merchandise, and opening bigger stores. New York & Co. started outfitting all Jasmine stores with the same amount and type of items, eliminating another of Manganella’s innovations: merchandise tailored for each store, with lower-priced clothes for the college students shopping at Harvard Square, and higher-end clothes for Newton and Wellesley.

“The change meant a new Miami store received chunky sweaters and corduroy pants in the middle of the summer – the same back-to-school items Northeast stores featured, according to Liza Baird, who had worked at local Jasmine stores, and moved to Miami in April 2006 to open the first Jasmine shop in Florida. Sales were so poor, Baird said, that some days the store barely broke $1,000.”

There’s also quite a bit about the dispute between New York and Company and Jasmine Sola founder Luciano Manganella, who was fired after allegations of sexual harassment.

Jasmine Sola is just one of the retail closures we’re seeing this Christmas season, along with Levitz Furniture and CompUSA. KB Toys also announced a wide swath of store closures, which raises speculation that the chain may be history once the holiday season draws to a close.

Author: Caldor

Jason Damas is a search engine marketing analyst and consultant, and a freelance journalist. Jason graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Music Industry. He has regularly contributed to The Boston Globe, PopMatters.com, Amplifier Magazine, All Music Guide, and 168 Magazine. In addition, he was a manager for a record store for over two years. Currently, he focuses on helping companies optimize their web sites to maximize search engine visibility, and is responsible for website conversion analysis, which aims to improve conversion rates by making e-commerce websites more user-friendly. He lives in suburban Boston.

58 thoughts on “Jasmine Sola: Rip Her To Shreds”

  1. Rats. Another retailer bites the dust. We’ve seen a bunch of change in the 1990s, when many clothing retailers filed for bankruptcy. Could this be a trend?

    Shame no one could buy it and save it…

    However, it just proves to a wakeup call to the retail industry: stop homogenizing your store mix!

  2. The one at Freehold Raceway is still there and packed today with 70% off stuff.

  3. Can we say ‘Merry Go Round’ all over again?

    That retail corporation’s demise was easily one of the biggest blows to retailing in recent memory, but with all these chains severely scaling back operations or just outright closing up shop a mere 10 years later, it really does make you wonder…..Who’s next?

    Homogenizing to the extreme in retailing in the past decade I’d say.

    I look at mall directories going back to the 1960s in old newspaper clippings. Strip malls and enclosed alike….there was just so much more of a retail mix. Unfortunately some segments, such as music / movies, toys, and books, will be sectors of the retail marketplace that’ll never see any realization again like they did in the 1970s-1980s, thanks in part to Wal-mart, and also to the Internet, which places like Amazon.com have pretty much sucked the life out of those categories of retailing with lower prices (W-M, convenience, and wider selections (your .com retailers).

    2008 is going to be one interesting….abelt turbulant year in retail. Stay tuned.

    Of course, it’ll probably mean more malls / chains for this site and others to document.

  4. Don’t forget the economy has been getting worse and worse since Bush took office (that bastard has ruined this country in less than 8 years, god damn). Plus corporations making stupid business decisions, along with the homogenization going on.

    I also know that another chain is going out of business, a home goods chain called Mikasa (becoming an online retail thing). I should know cuz I’m losing my job with the company (luckly I got a job with Hollister afterwards but still). I wonder what’s going to happen with all the vacanies these sotres leave behind. Will Malls try to fill them up quickly, or will they’re be nohting left to replace them with?


    The last thing I want is Labelscar to become a mud-slinging farce that I get in large-scale arguments. I’m just going to ignore that…

  6. None of what is happening in the retail world is anyone’s fault, government-wise.

    Keep in mind, part of the reason you saw a lot of small malls in the late 1970s/early 1980s was because, at that time, we were in a economic downturn, just like we are now. People seem to forget the past, their memory clouded by current politics.

    The climate in retail has changed though too, between then, and now. You’re going to see discounters flourish, while small specialty stores languish.

    Stores like CompUSA (recently ousted) and Circut City (which I feel doesn’t have much longer of a life) fail(ed) for a reasons…competition like Staples and Best Buy respectively, nonwithstanding. They would still be having trouble even if their competition didn’t exist.

    I also wish to not see this place become a warzone of political bickering. If I wanted that, I’d hit up a political blog.

    (PS: Geeze I hope my post wasn’t politically leaning. I don’t want to do that)

  7. Addendum / Edit:
    I shouldn’t have used small malls as an example, though their rather minimalist architectural stylings (terra-cotta tiling), and tacky lighting (office-style fluorescent light fixtures, anyone?), did reflect mall owners at the time who were building them, having to scale back the size of their projects due to the economic downturn of that era.

    My bad.

  8. Sorry I did’nt mean to bring politics into this, but still…just forget about what I said.

  9. I don’t know…if there’s one thing I’d like to see, it’s a brand-new discount store. Something that has a better reputation than Kmart or Wal-Mart (as in, where their reputation is bad) or to functionally replace Ames, Hills, Caldor, Bradlees, etc.

  10. Let me tell you what will happen with these empty stores, they will be either non retail such as health clinics and the like. Or the ajoining stores will expand into these spaces.

    Danroman what you said before about the econemy was right on.

  11. If we bring politics into the mix, then we’d have to go and blame someone else for killing Caldor *and* Bradlees. Politics had nothing to do with that nor does it most chain store deaths — it’s about smart, methodical practices and it’s easy to see why CompUSA (its founder is a Mexican billionaire, might I add) is failing as opposed to its competition. Do we really have to go back and analyze all the stores that have come and gone in just the last decade?

    Anyway, I just noticed an unlisted KB Toys in my state already gone before it was ever listed on the slashy list. I speculate the chain I grew up with will be gone by next year. I honestly think aside from their inability (and in part, if not for the new CEO’s willingly to revive Toys R Us) to adapt to the new-aged market and scope, the uncertainty in toy production lately doesn’t help one bit.

    CompUSA seemed like it’s been on the outs for awhile now apart they didn’t have many stores around. They just aren’t as aggressive as Best Buy and Circuit City much less OfficeDepot, who acts as some sort of competitor.

    I still fear for Kmart and its survival. I bought something there this Christmas year but man, all the stores in my area feel like 1989. I can’t believe they’re still truckin’…

  12. Another chain that is on the deathwatch is RadioShack…Expect more store closings this year, after last years massive post holiday store closures. They are hopelessly stuck still in the 1980s, and I’m amazed they have made it this long.

  13. What about GNC? I mean, GNC has like 6000 stores, virtually one in every single enclosed mall, from wildly successful to dead beyond repair. Who buys from them?

    About RadioShack, I really want to save it. It needs a new image. It seems to be a vague cable/cellphone provider with miscellany junk (an electric massager, anyone?). It needs to expand its shrinking “spare parts” section…that’s what made it famous!

  14. I’m surprised KB Toys is still in business. I travel quite a bit and Macy’s isn’t quite as homogenized as people suggest. The whole mid-market department store business has been consolidating for years and the model of local management with local buyers who actually tailor merchandise died quite a long time ago.

    It’s interesting that this chain in New England did so well over time. Clothing tastes change rapidly and manufacturers have been caught missing trends more than once in the last 30+ years. This seems like the kind of operation that needs a large buying component to maintain the individuality of the stores, but that’s the sort of thing that’s often the first to go in a retail buyout. The mentality of maximizing short-term growth and the often arbitrary cutting of functions and staffs is a big part of why mergers and acquisitions seem to wreck businesses. As for government, the current Administration seems in thrall to established, often dinosaur-like businesses (e.g., oil, auto manufacturers, etc.) which are not sources of innovation or new jobs and it encouraged the housing bubble which sucked a lot of capital into a narrow segment of the economy and is now making it difficult to rise capital for anything else.

  15. Rich, well said.

    The only way politics becomes a factor in this discussion is when the consumer is not able to purchase the goods & services they need or want. One store to wach is the gap. Can they adapt, i don’t know.

  16. …like Communism. The Gap is stuck in the ’90s although Old Navy and Banana Republic do fine for themselves. They should sell ON and BR off.

  17. Well I went to the mall near me and went to KB Toys. They’re having a “overstock” sale so I don’t know if that means that particular store is closing or that they want to get rid of toys for the Holiday season. I chatted with a supervisor there and he said that as far as he knew the KB stores that are closing are stores that have low sales and/or are located in low-income areas. But he also mentioned that the chain might close if things don’t go so well after these rounds of store closings. Take that with a grain of salt.

    I think chains like KBToys, Radio Shack, and GNC can survive if they close the stores that have low-sales. GNC and RS especially can save themselves if they close down the locations located at dead malls and strip malls and focus on having mall locations only as well as sprucing up their stock.

    Bombay, Mikasa, Levitz Furniture, CompUSA and now Jasmine Sola are going out of retail so there’s nothing to do about them.

    Kmart is struggling but people still go there, though it is falling behind the shadows of Target and Wal-Mart as well as regional stores of it’s kind.

  18. Well, GNC is not closing down, it just seems to be in every mall. It’s just curious…who shops there, if no one else in the mall?

  19. sears is falling behind as well……..majority of their stores are very dated….i’m expecting them to close up in bout 3 more years…….discount is hurting business and variety is going away very fast….ever notice how many nationwide music stores are left…..1 fye

  20. Jonah N.- I shop at GNC whenever I’m at the mall to buy some protien pudding (good stuff!) and energy products. I’d say that GNC’s demographic is the active man/woman who works out alot. As far as how busy they get, I’ve seen it semi-busy once in a while, otherwise there’s usually like 1 or 2 people that wander in there and buy something miniscule. I can imagine it’s slower in dead malls and strip malls.

  21. Well, FYE’s problems can be blamed on the overall downturn in sales of entertainment media (music CDs, DVDs, et al). While I didn’t mind it too much (but only did so when I ‘had’ to have something right then and there), most people do not want to pay full price for their entertainment. For Transworld (the parent company of FYE) buying out the Musicland Corp was one of the biggest mistakes they made….reminds me of when Ames swallowed up Zayre (a failing chain like Musicland was)……and paid for it dearly.

    Had they not bought out Musicland and left it to fizzle away and die, they may of still had a fighting chance.

  22. Also, FYE sucks. They have the highest prices, worst selection, least knowledgeable staff, and the shittiest store environments imaginable for a record store, something that is SUPPOSED to be a lifestyle product. The reason that FYE will crash and burn–like every other national record chain–is that by their very definition, music stores appeal to an arty and esoteric crowd. They need personality and knowledgeable staff to thrive, and they also need a lively and dynamic product mix. I think FYE is doomed to fail and will shed no tears over them. Local and regional chains like Newbury Comics in New England or Rasputin and Amoeba in California will be the only ones left standing–if anyone is left at all–and it’s for this exact reason: their stores are actually *fun* to shop in, and the national chains simply aren’t.

  23. I don’t think Radio Shack or Sears are going to go out of business, at least not in the near future, but maybe in many years to come. Kmart maybe the one that will eventually be gone, but who knows how they are still open when so many have predicted there demise years ago after the 2 round of store closings, but they are still here somehow, just a smaller chain of stores. I mean it took Montgomery Ward over 120 years before it finally went out of business. Maybe every store is not meant to be around forever, and will serve its purpose for awhile, and will die just like any living thing. And then will be replaced with something new and different.

    I think I know what KB Toys might do with this round of store closings. Here in Louisiana that they will be closing 3 stores in regional mall in big cities Baton Rouge and Shreveport, except for one regional mall location in Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie(New Orleans). They kept the 2 outlet stores they had open. The other 2 stores left are in smaller malls at around 600,000 square feet in cities of a population around 30,000. Maybe they will try to focus on the outlet stores and smaller malls, both in smaller cities with less shopping options. And then get out of the big cities that have 3 or 4 Walmarts, 2 Targets, and a Toys R Us in town, except for the largest city and/or most successful mall in the state(that of course being Lakeside SC in Louisiana). Thus reducing some of the killer competition from Walmart, Target, Toys R US, and yes maybe even Kmart in some cities. That is just something I noticed on my states round of store closings, and I have not checked the listings in other states to see if it is similiar to this set of stores. This could be another strategy to save the chain from a demise.

    I always wondered about GNC too, and what about Footlocker? These 2 stores and Radio Shack seem to be the last stores to finally leave a mall when it is dying are about to close up.

    TransWorld entertainment bought the last of the Musicland stores and Wherehouse Music too. Most all have converted to the FYE name for music and video. However, the Suncoast Motion Pictures name was kept for the video only stores, and they did leave a few of the combo stores under the Sam Goody name. And I think some of stores might be under a few other past names of other chains TransWorld has acquired over the years, but I do not know what they are.

    There is one more music/video store chain still open in some small malls and shopping centers in the southeast, Sound Shop. They also operate under the names Music For A Song and Music 4 Less at outlet centers. They still have a good many stores left open, although they have closed some in the last several years.

  24. There’s an FYE closing near me that was once a Strawberries. Guess they were keeping it open long enough to test the waters (or until the lease was up). Buddy of mine told me they were going close up many of their plaza side stores inherited during the rebranding cycle.

    I despise FYE because of their overpriced stock (no surprise, many companies they swallowed were well known for that like Suncoast), insipid store layout, poor selection, and selling of too many junky nicknacks. People realize this and are going to Best Buy and Target (and I guess Walmart) for better deals on their mediums aside from downloading. Going in there is almost insulting the way they throw around the word “sale.”

    I, for one, motion for more Newbury Comics stores — they have imported goods, fair prices, cool/imported toys and stuff, large selection of CDs and used ones at that. We have only one in Connecticut and it’s a puny store (unlike the giant ones in Cambridge, Leominster and Manchester NH). I was in there last week and heard an indie band I liked — would’ve never heard it if not for the limited scope of today’s music retailers.

    Jason, your observation about the music store is right on and parallel to the collapse of the video game store a la FuncoLand, who used to thrive upon 8-16 bit gaming. It’s hard to retain character when a store becomes a chain though, forced to push homogeny to stay alive.

  25. Oh God you mentioned Funcoland! I loved going there when I was a Super NES owner. It was a blast to go through the cartridges and whatnot looking for the next game to play. Of course now Funcoland is no more and the only national chains in the VG market are EB Games and GameStop (2 names same store). Luckly the GameStop I go to has staff that know they’re games but it’s sad to see no selection of older games (from the PS1 down to Atari 🙁 )

    Still I prefer GameStop to FYE. I don’t have a grudge against it but I wish they lower their prices if they’re going to compete with Target and the like. They sell new PS3 and Xbox360 games for like $62.99 which is way over the suggested $59.99 price elsewhere. It’s stupid.

  26. Mall music stores like FYE are overpriced and that is why Sam Goody ended up going out of business. The thing that I have observed is when a Barnes and Noble or Borders moves to a mall, the smaller closes. This was the case in Menlo Park when Barnes and Noble opened Musicland closed and when Barnes and Noble in Riverside opened the FYE closed. Borders just opened in Freehold Raceway Mall and if their music department were a little bigger, FYE would be gone over there.

  27. Mall music stores have always been overpriced, Even back in the 80’s in my early teens, Musicland, Record Bar, Sound Wherehouse and Sound Shop were always 2 or 3 dollars more per album than Walmart or Kmart. But they did have a lot more selection back then and carried music that the big discount retailers did not have. I remember back then that the discount stores did not have a big selection. You had to go to one of the mall chain stores like Musicland to find some stuff.

    There were a lot more local music stores and small regional chains back then. In south Louisiana we had a small regional chain called Music Center that started out in the early 70’s and by the mid 80’s had about 15 to 20 locations, mostly in smaller cities. And most of there locations were in shopping centers not malls. But by the early 90’s they were down to about 3 stores and now there founding store in Gonzales, Louisiana is the last one left, and still open, unbelievably!

    But let’s not forget another great source to purchase music and video, ebay, heck the internet period and all the stores online that always have what you want in stock. Remember the days before the internet when you used to go to Sound Wherehouse or Musicland store clerk and ask them to special order something for you that was not in stock at the store? You pretty much did not have many other choices back then, since there were very few forms of music retailing, for example catalogs, like the Sears or JCPenney catalogs, but for music. And come to think of it, I think that was half of Music Center’s business back then and probably still today was special order.

  28. I won’t be surprised if Circuit City bites the dust, 1st Quarter of ’08. They don’t have the market penetration of Best Buy (I think 1/3 the store count that BB has), and from what I heard (as I don’t have a store near me to judge from), the staff just isn’t really helpful….and quite pushy, wanting to sell you a certain brand of (insert item) rather than the one you may be interested in. Such is the way commission pay works.

  29. To be honest the DVD’s and CD’s at Borders and B&N are really not cheap. Then again the whole focus of both places are sup post to be books and coffee not media. I think Circuit City will go before FYE. IMHO FYE has a better music and DVD selection than Circuit City, but Best Buy tops them both. However sometimes there are some things I can’t find at Best Buy that I’ll only find at FYE but in spite of that I always go to best buy first. I personally don’t like buying media off the internet, I almost always go out my self and get what I want, call me old-fashioned.

  30. Circuit City also gets two major thumbs-down from me from not carrying Macs (2003?) and switching to the generic new big box logo (2006?). Like Sears, Circuit City can stay afloat by its real estate ownership. McDonald’s could do that too (I don’t think they’ll ever shut down either)

  31. Even though CC is in downtown White Plains, it has zero street visibility because it is only accessable from the inside of the City Center development. At least there are giant logos telling you that the store is there.

    The people who work there haven’t a clue what they are doing, as a resolt the store is never busy.

  32. Another chain soon to be dead: Bachrach. This high-end men’s clothier seems to be going of business in many first and second class malls. The only one I’ve seen that has updated anything was at Woodfield.

  33. Borders/BN may not be as cheap as Target/Walmart for music, but they do offer one service that the others (including FYE/Sam Goody/Musicland) don’t and that’s free shipping to the store. They will get a copy of anything they do not have. And during B&N’s buy 2 get 1 free DVD sales, the shipping option really works out. It scares the small music/DVD stores whenever Borders/BN comes to a mall. I am quite surprised that Suncoast has been able to hang on in Menlo Park with the megasized Barnes and Noble that opened there a few years back unlike Musicland (which if memory serves me correctly, closed when BN opened, before the chain went out of business).

    I agree that Best Buy is better than Circuit City, but they should have no problem staying afloat and in business in 2008.

  34. Musicland left way before B & N opened called Music Plus Movies. I think you are thinking of compact disc world. They closed when Barns & Noble opened.

    There is an indi music/video store not far from work that was closed because they sold damaged goods. They reopened some ago & yet it was not to busy in resent years, but they seme to hold on. An oddity of this store was it’s adolt only section that was hidden but easily found if you new where to look. I think it still may be there. But i’m not sure on that.

  35. I ment to say that Music Plus is in White Plains. Dam! sometimes i just cant type at all.

  36. According to Wikipedia, Circuit City stopped all commissioned sales in 2003. Its staff is all payed hourly.

  37. Wisconsin has a regional music / movie / AV equipment called. “The Exclusive Co.”. I go there several times a year to load up on CDs and movies. They’ve always been cheaper than the mall-based stores, along with Best Buy.

    Price does dictate where I’ll shop. For music, it’s always the aformentioned chains, and if I can’t find what I want, I go online. (I used to check Musicland/Sam Goody / FYE between hitting Exclusive Co and Best Buy first, and going online, but they’re no longer in my area)

    For movies, always Best Buy, or even “gasp” Wal-Mart.

    And finally to support one of my hobbies, ‘anime’, being that the DVDs are some of the more expensive ones per-disc, it’s always Best Buy or online. I used to shop at Suncoast and Media Play, but both those chains were the WORST price-wise for anime…always charging full MSRP (like with all other movies and stuff), and now, they’re no longer in my area.

    Younger generations expect everyone to take all their media in an online format. Well, sorry, for folks like me, this won’t work (barring being on a satellite internet line, that limits bandwidth amounts, thus not too much downloading can be done). That’s why it does dishearten me to see all these brick+mortar options slipping away. Best Buy is great on price, but their selection is …at best, limited to the ‘biggest sellers’. They don’t carry a breadth of catalog titles from lesser music bands. For DVD, they seem to change the shelf allocation constantly through the year. TV show and ‘Next gen’ (HD / BluRay) gets the most shelf space. Special interest (Western, sports, Sci-fi, anime, et al) gets the least space, no matter what though. Unlike Media Play, where they gave all genres of entertainment equal shelf space. (That’s why I miss them, but I don’t miss their prices….they were ridiculous)

    So Circuit City dumped ‘commission pay’ in 2003. I was going to mention that in my above post about predicting their demise, but I refrained, not knowing if they still did this. It was one of the big reasons people didn’t shop there. I know I don’t like to be bothered while browsing. I can find stuff myself 99% of the time.

  38. The only brick & mortar music place I shop anymore is a jazz/blues specialty place in Chicago (Jazz Record Mart, in the Loop) which I visit once or twice a year when I get to Chicago for business or personal reasons. I go there because the selection is broad and the staff know their music. I don’t mind paying a dollar or two more than Amazon because I know the profit supports something more than paying the rent. I’ll also poke around used CD places once in while.

    The music selection at the various big boxes (B&N, Borders, Circuit City) is too narrow to bother and Wal-Mart’s willingness to censor media makes them a complete no-go for me. New music is more accessible from the net than ever and old stuff in genres like jazz or classical really requires the kind of backstock that no one routinely has had since Tower’s decline (and eventual demise). It’s sad that “real ‘record’ stores” are largely gone, but I don’t see any dynamic that will bring them back. The parallel decline of radio as a source of anything useful for exploring music probably hasn’t helped–if new music or opportunities for people to sample music not programmed on the radio are web-based, it’s only natural that sales will migrate there. There are a few “flagship” HMVs and the like which survive in tourist places like San Francisco–I wonder how much longer they’ll last.

  39. I don’t know. With all the craziness of mega-corporations and the Internet, rather than bemoan the loss of a company, we need to look forward. JasmineSola may die, but there’s plenty of trendy teenage/young adult stores skewed toward women. What we need is a new electronics store (something that doesn’t cater to the low-end group who don’t know how to work PCs), a new video game store (something NOT GameStop, they’ve eaten everything!), and a new discount store (something that has the best of Wal-Mart, Target, Kmart, and the late Ames). Then I will be satisfied.

  40. Jonah,

    You may not have them in your area, but MicroCenter pretty much is the big box computer store that’s catered towards more serious users/nerds. Due to their slightly more limited appeal and the need to stock a wide variety of stuff, they tend to only have one store in each major metropolitan area, but they are all over the US.

  41. I agree with ya Jonah, though it’s sad to see any retailer go out, the least we can hope is for new chains to start up. Personally Id like to see more men-oriented stores, there’s too many girly-girl/chick stores in malls as it is. I do know that there is another smaller chain of video-game stores around in the business (I’ll look it up later) that could open in a mall. A new discount store does’nt sound to bad either, as long as it sells good name-brand items and not generic stuff found in dollar stores.

  42. Caldor, what I’m talking about is not a big megastore a la MicroCenter or Fry’s, but something smaller, that would be located as an anchor in a mall or in a power center.

  43. More holiday retail fallout…Talbots is closing its Kids and Men’s stores and PacSun is closing d.e.m.o.

  44. d.e.m.o. was a buy-out situation, wasn’t it? They started as a catalog that evolved into the retail stores.

    I don’t know how much longer PacSun itself has left to live. I get a feeling they may be next to go down.

    As for Talbots, they’re too ‘up there’ for me, but I can see their menswear division and why it went kaput..probably got trounced by the likes of Jos. A Bank and cheaper outlets like Mens Warehouse. They’re basically going back to their roots in the ladies apparel and accessories areas.

    Their kids division…. You know there was a time when almost ALL retailers threw their hats into the ‘kids’ area of retailing. Now they’re all but gone because of discounters. I mean, come on..I’ll bite……if I had kids, I sure as heck wouldn’t be buying them expensive clothes from these ‘specialty’ retailers, that’s for sure.

  45. I think the Kids divisions failed is because everyone including discounters is making everything either licensed stuff or the pink shirts for girls that say “Little Princess” or the like.

  46. d.e.m.o. was started from scratch by PacSun IIRC, but it got sidetracked (strangely enough) by the Mom-and-Pop urbanwear chains that proliferate at ever mall these days.

    Talbots Kids and Talbots Men’s were uninspired. The clothes were okay, but not particularly distinctive. The two chains never caught on with consumers and their fates were sealed when Talbots purchased J.Jill and went further into the middle-aged women’s business.

  47. Not surprised that Talbot’s is closing their Men’s Divison…they really didn’t expand it out to give it a chance (not even in the NY/NJ Market…closest one is King of Prussia).

    Apparently Eddie Bauer is facing more problems. They closed a lot of locations when their parent company, Spegiel, went out of business and tried to stay relevant (they had huge locations in Menlo Park and a 2 level location in Garden State Plaza during their better days). Unfortunately, a few more locations in NJ are closing. Too bad..I always liked EB.

    With the closing of Bombay, space will be available in a lot of strong NJ malls and it will be interesting to see what takes its place.

  48. I did not even know Talbots had men’s and kid’s store??? I would have liked to see what kind of merchandise they had. Chainstorage.com said they only had 12 mens stores. That is hardly enough to put a dent in the market to let people know you have the brand out there.

    I wonder how many Reuhl No 925 stores will abercrombie open? The only way I found out about Reuhl was on wikipedia! They do no advertising that I have ever seen for the Reuhl brand. And they need to really expand the stores if they want the brand to last. Either do that or lower the prices. They are pretty pricey. If they put at least one store in every state that has at least one metropolitan area of 1 million people, that would put a lot of stores out there. That is what Talbots should have done with the mens brand.

  49. Talbot’s Men’s seems like it would be a stretch. I can’t think of any good examples of women’s retail brands that successfully bridged into the men’s market, although men’s wear & shoe retailers often have done okay going in the other direction.

  50. Speaking of mens apparel retailers branching out into womens apparel, I’ve been curious for a long time about Brooks Bros. There were once a chain of women’s apparel stores called Brooks Fashions that lasted probably up through 1993-1994. Any relation there, or were they always seperate chains?

    That one’s always boggled me.

  51. Brooks Brothers actually has entered the women’s fashion market. The 3 recently new/renovated stores in NJ (Short Hills, Bridgewater, The Grove at Shrewsbury) all have women’s departments larger than the ones in the older stores.

  52. I wouldn’t say that. Most of the ones blame the government and some are ones saying Kmart should go out of business. Except a few posts, like Tuesday Morning or some malls in Cinncinatti (the Mills mall and Tri-County).

  53. It’s so sad to see all these places closing. Sad to say but alot of things contribute to it (finacially and poltically). The article Chip linked to is right, some chains that have what people want will somewhat survive and the chains that are specialty only will either fall or become much smaller.

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