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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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Ritz Camera, 100 Columbiana Circle Suite 102: July 2009   2 comments

Posted at 5:32 pm in closing

This is another casualty of the Ritz Camera chain's downsizing. Previously I wrote about the store on Two Notch Road which closed earlier this summer, and was hoping the other stores were safe. Unfortunately the trend seems to be continuing with this, the Harbison area store, closing while I was on vacation in July.

My observations of the Beltline store makes it seem to me that Ritz has almost totally ditched film photography for digital. I found that the last time I was in there and needed a roll of 35mm, they had a smaller selection than either Wal-Mart or Walgreen's. I'm sure this is a deliberate stragegy, and obviously digital is where the market is and where it will be. On the other hand, when you go to an actual "camera" store, you expect some more obscure items than you can find at the corner drugstore, so I'm not sure the strategy isn't a mixed blessing during this final film/digital period of transition.

UPDATE 30 August 2017 -- Still vacant 8 years later:

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Written by ted on August 24th, 2009

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