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News Updates: January 2008

All updates from the month of January 2008 are listed below.

Alpha Omega to be liquidated, leases going to Ross-Simons
Written by Justin on January 26, 2008 at 2:10PM
  • Yesterday, a U.S. Bankruptcy judge decided the fate of the Alpha Omega chain that had been financially suffering for some time. The assets are being sold to an investment consortium, which will liquidate the company.
  • Although the chain will begin discounting merchandise immediately, a large-scale liquidation will not take place until an inventory of merchandise can be taken. When the liquidation is complete this spring, Cranston, R.I.-based jewelry chain Ross-Simons will take over the leases of the attractive Prudential Center and Natick Collection stores. The consortium will negotiate with other retailers to find new tenants for the company's Burlington Mall location and flagship Harvard Square store.
  • The Boston Globe has the full story at http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2008/01/26/judge_oks_sale_of_alpha_omega_assets/.
More scoop on Gilly Hicks
Written by Justin on January 26, 2008 at 2:02PM
Chipotle Mexican Grill coming to Framingham
Written by Justin on January 24, 2008 at 1:06AM
  • It was speculated last summer that Fresh Mex chain Chipotle Mexican Grill would be coming to MetroWest via the former Borders Books & Music building that's now partially occupied by a Sprint store. So it was good to hear from F/NR reader and contributor Dave that those plans still seem to be on. As he uncovered:
    • "...I recently asked a manager at Chipotle Grill in Medford if they were going to open up in Metrowest and he said 'yes'.  They are going to be taking part of the old Borders building across from Ken's Steakhouse."
  • Currently, the nearest Chipotles are in Dedham and Cleveland Circle/Brighton.
Is Gilly Hicks even open?
Written by Justin on January 24, 2008 at 12:53AM
  • Yes, at least according to the Natick Collection's website.
  • But this seems to be a pretty weak launch for the Abercrombie & Fitch-owned brand. No fashion show opening, no coverage in any retail trades (as the press was not invited to the investors tour with CEO Mike Jeffries), an extremely lacking website, not even a press release that it is open for business. I'd bet that the company's other spin-offs abercrombie, Hollister, and Ruehl No.925 didn't have exclusive launches with no publicity. Hopefully the company is just waiting for more stores to open before they make a splash, because this is exceptionally lame.
  • I could only find one blog with a photo, check out R&R Watch ATL at http://ezshopperatl.blogspot.com/2008/01/abercrombie-launches-new-concept.html.
Gilly Hicks to open first store at Collection Monday
Written by Justin on January 18, 2008 at 11:28PM
  • Abercrombie & Fitch Co. executives and retail journalists are expected to gather at the Collection this Monday morning for the unveiling of the company's long awaited fifth concept.
  • Gilly Hicks (also marketed as Gilly Hicks: Sydney), the company's fifth brand, will open it's first location next to the Apple Store in the expanded corridor. Very little is known about the chain, other than that it will feature Australian-inspired underwear. Stay tuned to Framingham/Natick Retail for more information.
  • For more information, check out a press release at http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/CLTH115A17012008-1.htm.
JasmineSola prepares to close for good very shortly
Written by Justin on January 18, 2008 at 10:56PM
  • Another Boston institution is preparing to shut it's doors forever in just a few days. This time, it's not Fleet Bank, Buzzy's Roast Beef, or Jordan Marsh (all R.I.P.), but the upscale JasmineSola women's boutiques. On January 27th, they'll become history.
  • Founded in 1970 by Luciano Manganella, the company started out selling clothing made by Manganella's family and other small designers. As time went on, the store became the first in Boston to feature such brands as Steve Madden, and caught onto the designer jeans craze at the right time to become the go-to retailer for fashionable and affluent high school and college women.
  • However, the sale of the company to New York & Company for $30 million in July 2005 led to the firing of Manganella shortly after, under charges of sexual harassment. Without the founder, the stores had no direction; a store opened by New York & Co. in Miami had sales of less than $1000 some days. New York & Co. swapped manufacturers for the house "Jasmine" label, and quality declined severely. Some may have thought something was up when JasmineSola did not open in the Natick Collection this past September. Last October, New York & Co. announced plans to shutter the chain, and it is now finally becoming a reality.
  • Labelscar.com has a interesting look at the situation, you can check that out at http://www.labelscar.com/retail-news/jasmine-sola-going-out-of-business. The Boston Globe also said more last month at http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/fashion/articles/2007/12/22/for_iconic_boutique_a_swift_unraveling/, and Boston Magazine had a great piece at http://www.bostonmagazine.com/articles/luciano_manganella_s_final_sale/.

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