In surprising retail news, Gap Inc. e-boutique Piperlime has announced plans to close its virtual doors by April. Marketed as a shinier, higher-end boutique addition to the Gap powerhouse (Old Navy, Athleta and Banana Republic), the site had been experiencing a noticeable decline in the past year (including a pared-down brand selection), eventually resulting in a brand relaunch this past August. According to Bustle, “annual sales were under $100 million, which equals out to less than one percent of the company’s revenues,” leading us to believe the tiny profits just didn’t cut it for the mega-brand.
I spent the majority of my childhood wearing clothing—nay, outfits—from Hartstrings, otherwise known as the matching mecca of the free world. Everything I wore from Hartstrings came in sets. Shirts matched jumpers matched headbands matched socks. I was like a little walking panel of wallpaper, swathed head to toe in florals, or strawberries, or whales.
After years of matching, I rebelled. In sixth grade, I began poaching my dad’s jeans, lopping off a few inches at the bottom with scissors and then changing into them on the school bus.* I paired these pants—haphazardly paper-bagged on my waist with a weird rope belt—with marker-scribbled Vans and No Fear t-shirts (though, truth be told, I feared pretty much everything). I even owned a Stone Temple Pilots t-shirt, which was my prized possession for at least two years. In terms of fashion statements, it didn’t say much, but what it telegraphed was far more important to a pre-teen: “I listen to cool music” and, even better: “My parents let me go to a concert.”
Sometime during this stage, the Delia’s catalog began arriving at my house. It was like getting Moses’s stone tablets in the mail. This was the style bible, even more so than YM and Seventeen. You’d go to those magazines for very scientific quizzes that could predict whether or not your crush liked you back. You went to the Delia’s catalog to tune into the pulse of teenage fashion and culture. The styles were all very retro, but we didn’t realize that at the time.
“As a girl locked in the woods of Vermont, it was my access to mainstream America,” says my friend Jess, who now has a closet full of Chanel and Prada. “I had to have what Six was wearing. And avoid what Blossom had on.” Pause. “Wait, Six was the cute one, right?”
Buzzfeed reported Monday night that C. Wonder is closing its doors—every single one of them. The company, founded in 2011 by Tory Burch’s ex-husband Chris Burch, has been closing many its 32 locations for the past several months; the King of Prussia location is now closed.
While some of the offerings were cute—like these smoking slippers—the bright, whimsical, preppy chain always felt like a pale knock-off of Tory Burch, which I noted back when C. Wonder first announced its opening.
Denim Habit in Ardmore isn’t exactly closing, but it might as well be: The jeans-centric shop is relocating from its Suburban Square spot to … California. So, yeah, a bit of a hike. (Luckily, there’s one closer—the Marlton location is staying open.)
The store is shedding stock for its cross-country move, which means huge discounts of up to 90 percent off. (Basically free.)
Bad news for the Philadelphians who’ve relied on Superior Shoe Repair to fix their fanciest footwear: the shop is closing its doors at the end of the month.
Owner Won Song confirmed this afternoon that he would be closing up shop on December 31st. He told me over the phone that the building (1501-1505 Walnut Street) has been sold and all existing businesses were given two months’ notice to vacate. The building was bought by PREIT (who, it should be noted, also own the Club Monaco property located just next door).
For several weeks, TAKE SHOES TO BE FIXED has been on my to-do list. So when I walked by my go-to spot, Liberty Shoe Repair on 18th Street, and saw a man taping a sheet of paper onto the metal gate over the door, I was surprised.
“Wait, did this close?” I asked him.
“Two weeks ago,” he said. Then launched into a stream of curse words, all directed at Liberty’s owner, who’d suddenly closed the shop after 21 years. The man pointed to his sign: SHOE-SHINE BY JUNE (“GLASS MAN”) @ BLUE SOLE SHOES 1805 CHESTNUT (NEXT TO CONTINENTAL).
I feel like the only way I can begin this post is by saying: GUYS. 95. PERCENT. OFF. Okay, excitement aside, remember when we posted about Plage Tahiti closing? (Don’t worry, they’re combining with Knit Wit.) Well, that sale is now on sale.
Over at Shoppist, news of store closings usually are met with loud gasps, long sighs and, if a store is really, really good, cries of “Noooooooo.” (Those resonated down the halls yesterday, when we got wind of Arcadia in NoLibs closing.) Today, there were more audible gasps, as we got word that 30-plus-year-old Lafayette Hill’s Claire Dickson Boutique is closing.
Plage Tahiti has long been regarded as Knit Wit‘s younger, trendier sister. Today, owner Ann Gitter confirmed that the store, located at 128 South 17th Street, will close its doors on June 30th. “I’m totally excited about it,” Gitter told me over the phone. “It’s going to make my other store [Knit Wit] so much more fun.”
Gitter also noted that the closing has nothing to do with difficult landlords or rising rents. While she does admit that the layout of the store is tricky (and shoppers who’ve been to Plage can attest to this: The narrow layout and rather tight stairs to the second floor can be difficult to navigate), she says the main reason for closing is to boost the vibe of Knit Wit, which tends to cater to an older clientele with its high-end, higher priced selection.