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Banana Republic, 100 Columbiana Circle: May 2017   4 comments

Posted at 12:11 am in closing

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I did not realize it, but Banana Republic is a sub-brand of The Gap and apparently both are in trouble. Though I have not found any news of a bankruptcy for the firm, they pulled out of the U.K. and have struggled with badly declining sales, leading to a number of store closures:

As consumer shopping habits have moved increasingly online, Banana Republic has struggled to carve out its niche to drive customers through the door. The biggest problem for the brand is its lack of clear, unique identity -- coupled with the rise of fast-fashion competitors like H&M, Zara, and Forever 21, said New York-based retail consultant, Bob Phibbs, CEO of Retail Doctor.

“The reality is no one has figured out who they are,” he said. “Gap is [a] forgettable brand, and that spills over to Banana Republic...they need to cut the number of SKUs, cut the number of employees, and justify why I should pay $90 for a shirt with something compelling and interesting.”

As an added tidbit, while I was googling around for Banana Republic, I came on the news that Gymboree may go Chapter 11 and close 350 stores. Brutal times in retail indeed.

(Hat tip to commenter Em)

Written by ted on May 19th, 2017

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Bebe, 100 Columbiana Circle Suite 1068:   no comments

Posted at 12:15 am in closing

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Based on news from commenter Jason, I went out to Columbiana Centre to get some pictures of Bebe. By the time I got there, I found it already closed and with a mall promotional display in the windows.

Bebe is the latest retail casualty in a year that has been pretty brutal. Their original plan was to close only 28 stores, but in the event, they ended up deciding to close all 168 by the end of May 2017. According to this list, the Columbiana store was the only one in South Carolina.

So I guess the old question, "Bebe or not tobe?" is now answered..

Written by ted on May 11th, 2017

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