This Beloved Brand Is Closing All But 2 of Its U.S. Stores

After nearly 100 years in business, the brick-and-mortar versions of this store are disappearing.

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The coronavirus pandemic has crippled many businesses across the U.S., but few have been as harshly affected as the retail industry. Day after day, iconic companies and stores are being forced to shut their doors and the latest victim is a nearly 100-year-old footwear brand: Naturalizer. The store's parent company, Caleres Inc., announced that it is closing 133 Naturalizer stores in the U.S. and Canada, and by the end of the fiscal year, only two will remain in the U.S. Read on for the details, and for another recent closure that has many shoppers disappointed, check out This Adored Restaurant Chain Just Filed for Bankruptcy.

During Caleres' third-quarter earnings call this week, the company's SVP and CFO Kenneth Hannah said Naturalizer stores have been significantly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, "putting pressure and putting a number of those stores into a loss position," according to Retail Dive. "We went from stores that were generating [a] decent amount of revenue and obviously that reduction [in foot traffic] has put a lot of pressure on the bottom line," Hannah said. "Now is just a good time to go ahead and exit."

As a result, Footwear News reports, Caleres announced the closures of most brick-and-mortar Naturalizer stores and said they plan to grow Naturalizer's e-commerce business through both its own website and the websites of other Caleres brands, which include Famous Footwear.

"[A]s we continue to respond to the changing patterns of consumer demand, it was the moment to address Naturalizer's store footprint," Caleres chairman, president, and CEO Diane Sullivan said on the call. "But make no mistake, we continue to view the Naturalizer brand as a strong and value-driving component of our portfolio. In fact, Naturalizer continues to inspire great brand loyalty. It has a great track record of anticipating and adjusting to consumer preferences and needs."

Naturalizer dates back to 1927, their website notes, keeping to its original intent to "design shoes that fit how women lived their lives." Though the company stood strong throughout the 21st century, in a 2002 restructuring, Caleres closed 100 Naturalizer stores and by 2017, 153 Naturalizers remained. However, by the end of this fiscal year, only two Naturalizers will still be left standing: one in Miami's Dadeland Mall and New York City's 34th Street location.

Read on for other companies that are suffering, and for another business that's shutting down left and right, check out This Iconic Store Is Closing Over 200 Locations.

Read the original article on Best Life.

1
Guitar Center

Guitar Center storefront in Santa Clarita, CA
Juan Llauro / Shutterstock

The COVID pandemic brought the music industry to a screeching halt, with everything from massive concerts to private music lessons being put on hold. The downturn is now putting one of the most iconic music stores in jeopardy: Guitar Center announced on Nov. 13 that it will be filing for bankruptcy. While store closures aren't planned at this time, in a statement posted on the Guitar Center site, the largest retailer of musical instruments and equipment in the country announced that it was entering a restructuring deal to reduce its debt by $800 million. And for more stores that aren't long for this world, This Iconic Sporting Goods Company Is Closing Stores Nationwide.

2
The Children's Place

children's place
Shutterstock

On Nov. 19, The Children's Place announced that it would be closing 100 stores in 2021, on top of the 200 stores stores that have been shuttered in 2020. Representatives for the company said The Children's Place has seen falling sales due to the pandemic, "primarily as a result of a decrease in back-to-school sales due to schools adopting remote and hybrid learning models, along with the impact of permanent and temporary store closures." And for more retail closure news, check out This Beloved Gym Chain Just Filed For Bankruptcy.

3
Francesca's

francescas clothing store exterior entrance
Shutterstock/JHVEPhoto

Francesca's announced on Nov. 16 that it would be closing 140 of its brick-and-mortar stores after seeing sales fall by 29 percent in the second quarter of 2020. While many of Francesca's stores will stay open, the company said in a statement that bankruptcy was still a possibility if sales don't improve. And for more store closure news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Justice

justice store entrance
Shutterstock/Trong Nguyen

On Nov. 11, tween store Justice announced that all of its stores will be closing after its parent company, Ascena Retail Group, Inc., sold the brand off to Bluestar Alliance for $90 million. As of August, 600 of Justice's 800 U.S. stores had closed, and Ascena announced plans for the brand to shift to an online model. However, as a result of the sale, Ascena will be shutting down the chain's remaining stores by early 2021.

However, Bluestar has hope for Justice yet. "Justice is an important asset with years of growth ahead. An icon of tween culture, with its influence felt across fashion, lifestyle, pop culture and more, we see opportunity for global brand extensions and partnerships," said Bluestar CEO Joseph Gabbay. And for another jarring retail report as panic buying continues, check out These Two Toilet Paper Companies Just Filed For Bankruptcy.

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