Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Abercrombie & Fitch to close Aug. 18

August 8, 2007


Abercrombie & Fitch scheduled to close after August 18th

Just as school is about to begin, a retailer that caters to students is making plans for closing its Lawrence store. Enlarge video

Abercrombie & Fitch is closing its store in downtown Lawrence.

Aug. 18 will be the last day open for the store at 647 Mass., said Raven Correll, an assistant manager. All employees are being offered positions at any of the company's remaining four stores in its Kansas City district.

"Our sales weren't high enough," Correll said. "We were the lowest in our district every single day, and they didn't want to renew the lease."

When the store opened in August 1997, Abercrombie & Fitch joined Gap as a national retailer in downtown Lawrence. Since then, Gap retooled the Gap Kids portion of its store into a section featuring bath and body products. Eddie Bauer also has since opened and closed in the block.


concernedparent 10 years, 9 months ago

here's some advice, stop selling 120 dollar jeans.

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

Downtown has high rent because Doug Compton, who owns most of it, is a greedy landlord. I don't know how any store can pay the rent and the property taxes downtown.

As for Lawrence not having enough retail, it's variety of retail that we lack - and a second Wal-Mart does nothing to improve that problem. Building two of everything we already have doesn't help one bit, and it certainly doesn't attract buisness to Lawrence from other towns.

Downtown does attract business from other towns. That's exactly what we need: retail spending and tax revenues that come from out of Lawrence. Downtown is the draw, not the Wally World, and you could build 20 Wally Worlds and it would not bring one new customer into Lawrence.

optimist 10 years, 9 months ago

Parking, panhandling and prices. Three reasons why Abercrombie & Fitch is struggling.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 9 months ago

Here's me in geezer mode. I worked at A&F back when they were a sporting good store that also sold some clothing (in the Oshman's era). It's sad that the rag merchants have used the A&F name, but actually don't sell a darned thing the original A&F would have carried. End geezer mode.

Katie Van Blaricum 10 years, 9 months ago

SWEET!! Best news of the day; it almost makes my higher property tax bill not-so-bad!
You shouldn't try to sell clothes by featuring ads of people WEARING NO CLOTHES!!!

saraheckman 10 years, 9 months ago

John Steinbeck in his book Travels with Charlie bought camping supplies from the original A&F in the 1960s. I found this amusing but then I asked my parents and they said it used to be similar to LL Bean. I wonder what happened.

Godot 10 years, 9 months ago

It must be emotionally exhausting to view every purchase as a political act.

Kookamooka 10 years, 9 months ago

Ambercrombie dug their own grave when they went to a strictly clothing inventory. And people all over the country think their clothes are overpriced. There are store reviews on the web from Scottsdale to Spokane and they all say the same thing. 30.00 for a T-shirt is too expensive.

It just proves that most people in Lawrence don't fall for brand-hype. We appreciate value and quality and we won't pay for less.

The National Chains will always be at a disadvantage here because they aren't flexible, they can't make sale or pricing decisions independent of the headquarters. It takes flexibility to make it in our downtown market.

As far as service goes. EVERY story downtown can work on this one.

Katie Van Blaricum 10 years, 9 months ago

JOEHAWK, I didn't like A&F and I didn't shop there. Now they are closing. Tell me how you think this is discriminatory, please.

Confrontation 10 years, 9 months ago

Thanks! MadTV is near perfect in their accurate stereotyping.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 10 years, 9 months ago

So, will movies be returning to "Urban Outfitters" anytime soon?

packrat 10 years, 9 months ago

Close all shopping in downtown. Convert it into an Entertainment district.

Keith 10 years, 9 months ago

Maybe we'll finally get a Hooters! (no flames, I'm joking)

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 9 months ago

blackwalnut wrote "Downtown has high rent because Doug Compton, who owns most of it, is a greedy landlord."

But this is not exactly right. Downtown has high rent because the market will bear high rent. The rest of blackwalnut's sentence is an ad hominem attack.

And on the topic of A&F's employment practices, the Gonzales case was settled for more than $45 million and A&F now has a VP of Diversity, 25 diversity recruiters, and has been actively hiring a more diverse workforce. That's old news, and A&F has changed its practices.

Jeteras 10 years, 9 months ago

Hey they could put a Wal-Mart downtown now. Sorta like a mini Wal-Mart, Cool huh? I am sure they can afford the rent and or buy the block for that matter

TheHeartlessBureaucrat 10 years, 9 months ago

I have nothing political to say about it as I'm not informed. BUT, I had NO idea how long A/F had been around. Thanks for the cool trivia!


Mkh 10 years, 9 months ago

Great News! Congratulations to the Lawrence consumer. Close down Corporate Corner!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 9 months ago

Is their stuff that much different than the Gap Crap you can get next door?

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years, 9 months ago

Fine by me. Abercrombie perennially publishes its smut catalog, and the stench of Abercrombie cologne wafting from their store every day was too much to bear.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence is a very tough retail market, and in part because of the established relationships local merchants in the downtown area have with their customers. Lawrencians tend to shop their with local merchants instead of these corporate stores. The original River Front Mall and the Tangier Mall fared poorly from the start and the Tangier mall was even handicapped in its zoning by having to have a sign in its front yard pointing to the shopping to be had downtown.

i think most true Lawrencians realize that as the downtown goes, so goes Lawrence as the easy going university community it's always been, but that's changing.

West Lawrence is somewhat different because it has become more of a bedroom community for people working in Topeka who have no particular loyalty to maintaining a healthy downtown. As a result, the west Lawrence shopping areas look just like the shopping areas of suburban Topeka and Johnson County.

If you want to keep Lawrence Lawrence shop local merchants downtown.

craigers 10 years, 9 months ago

To be honest, I think the Legends has a lot to do with it. The Legends is great. It has nice shops, great atmosphere with music throughout the shopping area, tons of eating establishments, Furniture store, Cabellas, etc. It easily provides a great place for a family outing. Lawrence doesn't have anything like that. At least I don't see Downtown as a place I wouldn't mind spending the day shopping.

The store closing also might have to do with the $50 shirts and $60 and up jeans. It's bad when you find a shirt for $30 there and you think you are getting a good deal since it is on clearance for 40% off.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

There's a trend among corporate raiders to buy up a recognized name and trash it with shoddy merchandise before moving on to the next acquisition. Garrard turntables (speaking of geezer mode) were one of the first examples of this. Great reputation as the leading manufacturer of component turntables and then taken over by a corporate raider who put Garrard turntables in every $39 stereo sold in Walmart. Ba**ards.

LawrenceRes 10 years, 9 months ago

Does it have anything to do with the fact that every time I've walked into that store the employees have been stuck up and rude, not to mention unhelpful and the prices are outrageous? It's not just the prices though, I've seen a couple of items in there that I liked enough to pay a bit higher price for but I couldn't purchase because I'm not a size 10 or smaller.

Bud Stagg 10 years, 9 months ago

You people miss the point and are happy about the corporate giant closing. However this is just another blow to downtown. Someone made a comment about west lawrence people and Johnson county. I grew up in JoCo and while it is suburbia, so is just about every major city in America.

As long as this community continues to fight about what Lawrence IS or ISN'T, no one wins. Why is this such a blood fued? It is tearing this community apart.

Keeping companies like Wal-Mart out is simple Discrimination by those who opposed it. That company has a right to move here if they follow the laws. They followed the laws otherwise they would not have filed a lawsuit against the city and was favored to win. Why don't we make the wal-mart employees ride in the back of the T and use seperate bathrooms. I feel like we are in the south during the sixties.

If you don't like Wal-Mart or it's practices, don't shop there. Tell your friends not to shop there. Change the import laws so Wal-Mart can't use communist labor. However don't discriminate against Wal-Mart for using the American system to be successful. They are just the biggest bully on the block and the people in this town look like corporate racists. If you are against Wal-Mart, then be agains Home Depot, HyVee, etc. They all use the same tactics to negotiate with suppliers and in employment practices.

KUDB99 10 years, 9 months ago

Don't like A&F, never have, never will. However, maybe if there was someplace to park....or maybe if you didn't get hassled by so many vagrants...or maybe if their stores didn't suck so much, they'd still be in business.

Free State and Liberty Hall are the only reasons I still go downtown at all. Long live the Copperhead Ale!

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 9 months ago

Logorrhea allert!!!

It's not like retailers don't have a clue about what kind of problems they'll run into when they move into downtown Lawrence space. If they can't make it there then they probably made a bad decision when moving in. The basic factors involved haven't changed tremendously, though the economy is certainly not looking good.

Perhaps it's time for us all to embrace the crash and wish we weren't in such horrible debt?~)

Sell your houses NOW, if you can. Move to Topeka and KC! Lawrence is dying. The speculators will be fine. They've sucked for a long time and are as distended as dog ticks, our blood money turning black in their guts. The rest of us still smile, belch, bloviate and pretend to be secure. Sell your houses NOW, if you can. Move to Topeka and KC! Lawrence is dying.


It's time for us all to embrace the crash, to pay for our gluttony and the black marks that run red from our torn guts.

Seriously though...who cares?

Flap Doodle 10 years, 9 months ago

IIRC, Lucky Lindy bought his flight suit at A&F. Willis & Geiger made the safari clothing we stocked back in the day. W&G also went under. The name is used sometimes by Land's End, but has no relationship to the original W&G.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 9 months ago

While many will not miss A&F it is a sign that retail dollars are in limited supply in a small town market that the real estate/developer executives continue to pretend that when the experts speak they scream that cannot be the truth.

When governing bodies forego economic impact studies that is a sign of bad city management thus higher taxes will prevail because of economic displacement. Our governing bodies and their close friends in the real estate/development community fear proper business procedures for the truth would prevail. Of course the super majority of all planning and governing bodies would again say that cannot be true. Big bucks combined with bad city management and back door politics stink.

Julie Craig 10 years, 9 months ago

My main beef about A&F is that their clothing looks worn out already. Why pay double the price for frayed, ripped, faded merchandise??

Also - their music was EXTREMELY annoying.

blackwalnut 10 years, 9 months ago

Pro-sprawl people just ignore all the signs. I love it when Sue Hack just publicly states she refuses to believe every professional study and every professional opinion - if it happens not to support her pro-development-at-any-cost position. Cherry-picking facts and just pretending are just not ways to run a city.

jonas 10 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if anyone has contemplated that A&F closing down is merely a sign of. . . A&F closing down? I know this is another choice tidbit that the harridans can link to their personal views and agendas, but here's a news flash. . . stores close down. Sometimes, of course, they don't. There are many, many likely possibilities for why an individual store like A&F would choose to close its doors, some of them perhaps not even because the store was losing money, but simply not meeting target growth in revenue to justify its existence.

On another note, I thought the folks squawking about the "smut catalog" were probably being over-sensitive, but I looked into it and there were nude and soft-core images to be had, at least as of 2003. Are they still publishing this quarterly? The article said Christmas 2003 was the last intended run at the time of writing.

Still, to call it "smut" is still a little over-reactionary.

karensisson 10 years, 9 months ago

It's a little early to blame Wal-Mart for this, but it does support the arguments of people who say that Lawrence has more retail than it can support.

If A&F is the lowest producer in the district and this is a college town, something is very wrong with the health of retail in this town.

Hack & Co. will not be happy until they have squeezed every penny out of every possible development deal, and Lawrence is abandoned like Topeka.

lunacydetector 10 years, 9 months ago

what a crock karensisson. downtown isn't the greatest place to be for a retailer. i think glockowner hit it right on the head plus the lack of traffic doesn't justify the high rent.

lawrence doesn't have enough retail. the greatest impediment to retail or any type of business in this city is the city government. lawrence, kansas is still known as being business unfriendly. you can thank the former progressive controlled commission.

Emily Hadley 10 years, 9 months ago

Like the equal opportunists here always say, about Wal-Mart, Eddie Bauer, McDonald's, Subway, and every other chain: 'If you don't like it, don't shop there.' 'If nobody goes there, it won't be open long.'

Duly noted!

Remember this simple cause and effect when you're tempted to go to a store you don't ethically/politically support, or vice versa, when you'd like to support a responsible local business but haven't actually gotten around to going in; every dollar counts, especially yours!

toefungus 10 years, 9 months ago

The foot traffic downtown has been on the decline for many years. Even the side walk sale had fewer people than in the past. High gas prices, high taxes, falling or stagnet home prices, are probably big factors in declining downtown business. I wonder if any business downtown is increasing year over year? I agree with an earlier comment, there will be many more closings over the next year.

Godot 10 years, 9 months ago

If Walmart sold only overpriced, grungy looking clothes, it would have to close down, too.

deec 10 years, 9 months ago

Think globally, act locally. Vote with your dollars. It ain't that hard. Except with food products, since many food products only have to list a country of distribution rather than production.

Godot 10 years, 9 months ago

Stain, I will wager that you do not know the origin of every product you purchase. You, by inference, label someone who does not view every purchase as a political statement "lazy.: I, in turn, label someone who views every purchase as a political statement . ultimately, an "hypocrite."

jonas 10 years, 9 months ago

Emilyhadley: "When you'd like to support a responsible local business."

Responsible local business. Only two of those words are a natural pair. Some of the local businesses at this point would not get my dollar no matter what their prices are, or what alternatives were available. They are not always these bastions of free, good-ol' American hard work and labor that folk like to portray them as. Sometimes they are vile pits of arrogant and financially irresponsible owners who treat their employees as well or worse as the Great Satan Walmart itself is said to.

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