American Apparel to Close All Stores Following Bankruptcy Auction

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The tale of one of the country’s most scandal-ridden companies is finally coming to an end. Clothier American Apparel, which has touted a “made in the USA, sweatshop free” ethos for the last 20 years or so, recently announced that it will shut down all 110 of its stores.

After filing for bankruptcy twice since 2015, the company — once considered an American manufacturing success story — sold its brand for $88 million in a bankruptcy auction last week to Canada’s Gildan Activewear, which manufactures branded basics like T-shirts, socks, and underwear.

Though the company hasn’t announced exactly when the stores will close, store representatives at four Philadelphia regional locations — Center City, King of Prussia, University City, and Cherry Hill — speculated that the stores will shut down sometime between February and April, though they had not yet been briefed internally about layoffs or store closings. Read more »

Sears, The Limited Closing Local Stores

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Last week, we said Macy’s wasn’t alone in its retail slump, and it wasn’t long before other retailers came forward to announce store closings of their own. Sears and K-Mart announced major closures at the end of the week, and on Sunday, women’s apparel chain The Limited began closing all 250 of its stores nationwide.

Across the state, six K-Mart locations will be shut down by April, including one in Lancaster. Atlantic City’s Pleasantville location is also on the list, in addition to three other New Jersey stores. Four Sears locations from Camp Hill to Uniontown will be shuttered, including one at Shenango Valley Mall outside of Pittsburgh, where a Macy’s store is also set to close. Sears Holdings, which owns K-Mart, announced its first wave of store closures back in the spring of 2016. The latest announcement brings the total number of closures scheduled for early 2017 to 150. View the full list here.

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Four Philly-Area Macy’s to Close in Early Spring

Macys

It’s official: Four regional Macy’s stores will shut their doors for good this spring. On the chopping block are the stores at Plymouth Meeting Mall, Moorestown Mall, Bensalem’s Neshaminy Mall, and Voorhees Town Center. A total of 347 employees will lose their jobs.

The chain reported poor sales this season as consumers opted to shop on their smartphones and tablets. For November and December, the retail giant’s sales fell about 2 percent on a comparable store basis from 2015. Retailers like Amazon, with its Prime delivery and expansive warehouses, continue to eat away at Macy’s market share.

“We are closing down locations that are unproductive or are no longer robust shopping destinations due to changes in the local retail shopping landscape, as well as monetizing locations with highly valued real estate,” Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said in a release. Read more »

The Creepy Science Behind Why You Love Target So Much

why you love target

The mind games are real, people. | iStock/Kasahasa.

It’s no secret Target has our hearts — with those colorful housewares, punchy desk supplies and racks of bathing suits priced oh-so-perfectly, how can we resist? Center City certainly can’t, with people nearly lining the block in anticipation of Target’s new location opening this summer. Target is what my mom calls a ‘$100 store,’ meaning you can’t just pop in for one thing — you’re definitely dropping at least a Benjamin while you’re there, even when you have no intention of doing so.

But why is it that Target has such a hold on us (and our wallets)? Is it the mascot dog with the cute bullseye? The mini sale section in the front? That deliciously sinful, buttery popcorn? We sought out local experts — retail analysts, psychologists, professors at some of the top fashion programs in the world — to help us crack the code, revealing the science behind why you love Target so much. Their answers were insightful, surprising, and, well, downright creepy.  Read more »

Three New Stores Announced for KOP Expansion

King of Prussia rendering

A rendering of the new King of Prussia mall addition.

The King of Prussia Mall expansion continues on schedule, and the mall addition that will (finally!) connect the Plaza and the Court is starting to take shape. Today, mall owner Simon Property Group announced three new stores that are coming to the King of Prussia Mall sometime in late summer.

Headlining that list is Superdry, the U.K.-based outfitter that combines American-style fashion with nonsense Japanese script (really, it’s all gibberish) plastered on its outerwear. Read more »

Wawa Is Planning Even More Center City Expansion

Wawa - 19th and Market - rendering

Rendering courtesy Wawa

Reversing an old trend, Wawa is making a big push into Center City.

Today is Wawa Day, celebrating the anniversary of the first Wawa convenience store’s opening on April 16th, 1964, in Folsom. Free cups of coffee are given to patrons chain-wide. As such, a line of corporate heads — as well as Mayor Jim Kenney and sports media personality Howard Eskin — were on hand at the Wawa flagship store at Broad and Walnut to pour the ceremonial “first cup of free coffee” and make some major announcements. Read more »

How I Chose the 50 Best Shops in Philadelphia

Scouting Shops

A peek at some of my research.

I’ve been covering the Philly shopping scene for over six years now. I consider many of the city’s shop owners to be a particular sort of friend — we don’t chat on the phone or hang at each other’s houses, but I’ve worked with them for so long I’ve grown to love them. And I adore pretty much all of the boutiques that make up our indie shopping scene. You can imagine, then, that picking my 50 favorites was akin to naming a favorite child: How could I possibly choose?  Read more »

City Sports Brought Back to Life by 30-Something Wharton-Grad Brothers

The former City Sports location at 1608 Walnut Street (Photo by Jared Shelly)

The former City Sports location at 1608 Walnut Street (Photo by Jared Shelly)

City Sports is back from the dead.

As you might recall, City Sports liquidated all its assets and closed all 26 locations nationwide — including three in the Philadelphia area. The company filed for bankruptcy in October and was unable to find a buyer willing to keep the stores open.

But in that bankruptcy liquidation, Brent and Blake Sonnek-Schmelz bought the brand, logo and website — and have their eyes set on a complete re-launch including e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. Read more »

City Fitness Opening New Gym (and Juice Bar!) on Fishtown’s Frankford Avenue

City Fitness's new Fishtown location | Photo by Adjua Fisher

City Fitness’s new Fishtown location | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Get this, you guys: City Fitness is setting up shop on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown, and they’re building a brand new gym that will have — wait for it — a TREE growing in the middle of it. Like, planted in the freakin’ ground of the gym. I can’t be the only one whose jaw drops at the thought of that. Read more »

Meet the Philly Ad Agency Promoting “Joy,” the Brand Behind the Movie

"Joy" and Joy.

“Joy” and Joy.

Rarely does a brand have such a prime opportunity to go from niche retailer to household name. But such is the case for Joy — the brand of mops, steamers, pillows and other household items created by founder Joy Mangano.

Not only was she played by Jennifer Lawrence in the film Joy, but Lawrence just won a Golden Globe and got nominated for an Oscar for her performance. If that weren’t enough, Joy-the-brand is in the midst of a huge rollout in the full footprint of TargetBed Bath & Beyond, Container Store and Macy’s locations. Some stores like Target and Macy’s are even creating store-within-a-store concepts that will basically be their own “Joy” sections.

So Joy and her company went on the hunt for an advertising agency — and chose Philly’s Red Tettemer O’Connell + Partners. In January, RTOP just launched an ad campaign including TV commercials, digital ads and social media posts. If it’s successful, Joy could become the next Martha Stewart or Rachel Ray. If it fails, the business will likely remain most visible on the Home Shopping Networkwhere Joy has been selling products for years. Read more »

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