The Limited has posted a message on its website saying it is closing all of its 250 stores nationwide, a move that would make the women’s apparel chain the latest big-name retailer to be wounded by shoppers’ growing preference for online shopping and “fast fashion.”
The posting said that the chain’s website would continue to be open for business.
There had been a steady drumbeat of evidence that trouble was brewing at The Limited. During the December shopping rush, the store’s 80 percent off deals and its sudden decision to disallow returns seemed more characteristic of a fire sale than a holiday Bonanza.
And reports have cropped up across the country of individual store closures in recent weeks: Shoppers in the Washington region were notified by e-mail that the Pentagon City store was closing. News outlets in places such as Indianapolis, Albany, N.Y., and central Illinois reported that their local Limited stores were shuttering.
A call to the media relations office of Sun Capital Partners, the firm that owns The Limited, was not immediately returned.
A spokesman told the Associated Press that the company will shut its stores by Sunday, and that the closures would result in about 4,000 job cuts.
The Limited was once a cornerstone of one of retailing’s most formidable empires. Founded in 1963 by Leslie H. “Les” Wexner, the store was a 2,000-square-foot box named for its limited assortment of women’s apparel. The business mushroomed quickly, perhaps an early harbinger of an era in which specialty stores became a dominant presence in regional shopping malls and began to steal thunder from department stores. As The Limited mushroomed, so did Wexner’s ideas: He opened Express, a trendier women’s clothing chain, and Structure, a men’s shop. His company, which today is called L Brands, briefly owned Lane Bryant, Abercrombie & Fitch, Lerner New York and other concepts. It sold off The Limited in 2007, but remains the corporate parent of Bath & Body Works as well as Victoria’s Secret — a chain that Wexner scooped up for $1 million in 1982.
Liz Dunn, chief executive of retail consulting firm Talmage Advisors, says The Limited has suffered from its inability to keep with trends.
Shoppers, Dunn said, are “looking for really fast fashion, for things that are hyper-relevant to what’s going on in fashion right now — and as inexpensive as possible.”
The Limited’s sensible office attire doesn’t quite fit that bill.
The retail environment has proved challenging for a variety of stores: Sports Authority went out of business in 2016, shuttering more than 460 locations in U.S. malls and strip malls. PacSun, Aeropostale and American Apparel each have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past year and are aiming to reorganize and revive their businesses.
Macy’s announced this week after a disappointing holiday season that it would aim to cut costs in part by closing some stores and slashing 10,000 jobs.
Earlier, on Nov. 28, The Limited had filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) notice in its home state, Ohio, indicating that a mass layoff was imminent. In a letter to employees that was disclosed as part of the notice, executives said “product misses and massive shifts in retail shopping trends have been especially difficult for the company’s business, and the company is dealing with significant debt obligations.”
In October, rival women’s brand Chico’s announced that it had poached The Limited’s chief executive, Diane Ellis.
I imagine the online store will close shortly, too. Probably remain open long enough to handle the people who purchased prior to Dec 14 (those people still have a 45 day return policy) and then they will close. They already have ALL SALES FINAL on the site (have since Dec 15) and they stopped accepting their own credit card in stores and online back in December, as well.
Take a look at their Facebook page. There are people who ordered around Black Friday that never received their orders yet, as well.
I was going to buy something from them for my wife for Christmas and noticed they stopped accepting ShopRunner ... which led me to their Facebook page and the downward spiral they were facing.
Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.
Members of our community may attach files to a post in accordance with the User Agreement. FatWallet is not responsible for the content, accuracy, completeness or validity of any information contained in any attached file. Files have *not* been scanned for viruses. Be especially wary of Excel files which may contain malicious content.
Earn Cash Back while you shop - just 3 simple steps.
1. Sign Up so we know who to pay! (It's FREE.)
2. Shop through FatWallet for deals from your favorite stores. Your online purchases earn Cash Back that builds in your FatWallet account.
3. Get Paid by requesting a payment via check or PayPal.
FatWallet coupons help you save more when shopping online. Use our Coupons Search to browse coupons and offers from thousands of stores, gathered into one convenient location.
As part of our FatWallet Community, you can share deals with almost a million shoppers in our forums. Forum content is generated by consumers for consumers. Share deals, money-saving tips, and more. It's FREE, fun, and addicting.
Our customer experience team is here around the clock - real people ready to assist.