The Revisit: Is There Anything Cute at the Banana Republic Factory Store?

banana republic factory store revisit

Outside the store on Chestnut. | Lauren McGrath.

The wave of off-price, outlet and factory stores coming to Philly seems to have, at least for now, subsided. In its wake is a string of stores that have either shined since opening day (see: Century 21, Bloomingdale’s Outlet, Primark) or faltered (Bloomingdale’s OutletNordstrom Rack).

One of the best parts of my job is running around town and popping into stores to see how things are going, so I was more than happy to step out into the sunshine and head over to the Banana Republic Factory Store, which opened on Chestnut Street back in 2014. I set out to see if the store had gotten, well, any more organized since the last time we stopped in, and to check out the selection. Read more »

The Revisit: Does Century 21 Still Live Up to the Hype?

Century 21

The view from the Market Street entrance to Century 21. | Lauren McGrath.

When we got a sneak peek inside Century 21 before it opened in the fall of 2014, we couldn’t get enough of the Gallery’s brand-new, face-lifted megastore. But as so many stores have experienced time after time (ahem, Nordstrom Rack), it ain’t easy out there for an off-price retailer in the middle of the city. Call us cynics, but we worried about the state in which we’d find all that Chloé and Saint Laurent after all this time. High-brow doesn’t generally mix well with clutter.

I made my way down Market Street fueled by La Colombe and a burning desire to see the real state of affairs at Century 21, its grand-opening luster long gone. I had visions of gorgeous beaded Valentino platforms smushed on a shoe shelf next to patent leather Jessica Simpson heels and clothing racks in disarray. Braced for the worst, I dove in. Here’s what I found:

Nooooo: Calypso Closed and Pandora, the Worst Jewelry Store Ever, Is Opening In Its Spot

calypso pandora

Calypso’s storefront has been overtaken by Pandora ads. | Image via HughE Dillon.

It’s true: Calypso St. Barth on Walnut Street has shuttered its sunny doors and is passing the torch to Pandora. We’re not necessarily Calypso die-hards, but really? The 1600 block of Walnut Street is some of the most prime retail real estate in the city, and they’re handing over the keys to … Pandora? Read more »

The Revisit: Is the Philly Bloomingdale’s Outlet Still Worth Shopping?

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Scenes from the sale rack. | Photo by Lauren McGrath.

When we got a sneak peek inside the new Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store in the Shops at Liberty Place back in December, it’s safe to say we were impressed with the selection, especially the relatively small space. There were loads of fun furs, racks of denim, and a curated mix of home goods, all impeccably arranged for the grand opening. But in most stores, the pitch-perfect displays and militant organization of opening weekend doesn’t last too long. So we popped by the Outlet this week for a surprise revisit to see how things are shaking out a few months in. Here is the good, the bad and the, well, see for yourself. Here’s what we found:

How Mary Dougherty Went From Selling at Farmers’ Markets to Shopping With Bill Clinton

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Dougherty in her Bellevue location. | Lauren McGrath.

Mary Dougherty is one of the most influential women in Philadelphia, and is steadily cementing Nicole Miller as a heritage brand in this city. With two thriving storefronts, located in Manayunk and Center City, Dougherty paints a pretty picture of success. However, the process wasn’t always bridal gowns and rainbows. We sat down with her to chat about breaking into the industry and her advice for female entrepreneurs in Philly.  Read more »

Massive Holiday Sale at Blue Sole Shoes

BLUE SOLE

Just four of the many awesome styles at Blue Sole Shoes, many of which are currently hanging from the outside scaffolding. | Blue Sole Shoes.

Great news for the shoe-loving men out there: Blue Sole Shoes is in the midst of a major sale. From now until Christmas, you can shop their inventory of high-end, edgy kicks at 10 to 40 perfect off retail price. Not sure where to find the store? In case you missed it, they’re the masterminds behind the merchandise-draped scaffolding on Chestnut between 18th and 19th. Read more »

Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store Opens in Center City Today

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The new storefront on 17th and Chestnut. | Lauren McGrath.

In case you missed our sneak preview, Philly’s new Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store opened its doors this morning at 9:30 am. The off-price retailer is located in a 22,700 square-foot space in the Shops at Liberty Place. To celebrate the store’s grand opening, every shopper will receive at least 15 percent off their entire order, with the chance to win up to 50 percent off everything. See how!

A Sneak Peek Inside Philly’s New Bloomingdale’s Outlet

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The new storefront at 17th and Chestnut. | Lauren McGrath.

Philly’s new Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store is set to open this Friday, December 11 in the heart of downtown at the Shops at Liberty Place. This 22,700 square-foot space is filled with the designer brands and luxe styles that can be found at the retailer’s standard stores, plus items unique to the outlet, all at discounted prices (up to 70 percent off retail). We got an exclusive tour of the new space. Take a peek inside the doors before they open to the public this Friday at 9:30 am. Read more »

Jade’s Closet Opening Center City Pop-Up Shop

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Big brands (and bricks). | Image via Jade’s Closet.

For city-dwellers who keep meaning to make it out to the Main Line to check out the stores there (and they’re worth checking out!) but just can’t seem to get there, there’s hope: Wayne’s fashion-forward boutique darling, Jade’s Closet, is opening up a pop-up shop in Center City tomorrow.

The contemporary womenswear boutique is opening its temporary downtown doors today and will stay open through the 12th as part of the Philadelphia Collection. In case you needed a little convincing to get out and shop, they’re hosting a launch party with West Elm this Thursday evening, complete with music, wine and live fashion illustrations (!). And urbanites, the best part? You don’t even have to get on 76 to get there.  Read more »

The Suburbanization of Philly: 5 More Stores We Want Now That Target Is Taking Over

Suburbs

The slow suburbanization of Philly. | Images via Shutterstock, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Wiki Commons.

The reaction to Target’s downtown expansion — a TargetExpress concept is coming to Center City next year; another location is opening in Midtown Village — was swift and overwhelmingly positive. And why wouldn’t it be? As I’ve said before, Target is the one of the last gleaming bastions of shopping efficiency that suburbanites cling to: Sure, you have better restaurants, but we have Target. There was, of course, the expected grumbling about the city’s descent into chain-dom, but I’d argue that even the most staunch naysayers would have to admit: Getting a Target is really pretty awesome.

But it also got me thinking: If one of the reasons we move to the suburbs is convenience — garages, big yards, grocery stores with decent-sized parking lots — what happens when Philly gets suburbanized? And, more importantly, is that what we secretly want?

Apparently, maybe just a little bit. I asked around for people’s dream retail wish list, and the answers point to something devoted city-dwellers might not want to admit: We want to bring the ‘burbs – or at least the shopping perks of the ‘burbs — to Philly. It makes sense: While Philly’s independent boutiques are part of the weird, wild fabric of our city, places like Target are, well, easy. And practicality — resounding, reliable practicality — counts for something.  So, here, in no particular order, are the five stores we’d like to see come to Philly next. The not-sexy, no-frills shops that might not win us any retail awards but would make our lives a hell of a lot easier:  Read more »

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