Duluth-based maurices could be hit with serious store closures

Because the company that owns it is not doing well.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Maurices has more than 1,000 stores, plus a stunning new home office in downtown Duluth that more than 500 employees work in.

But the women's fashion store might be forced to close some of its retail locations because the company that owns it is really struggling now.

Maurices is owned by Ascena Retail Group, which also operates the brands Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, Loft, dressbarn and Justice. On Thursday, Ascena released results from its most recent quarter and things weren't great. They struggled to get people into stores, and sales were down.

As the Duluth News Tribune reports, that led Ascena CEO David Jaffe to tell investors the plan is to close 250 stores (across all the company's brand). And another 400 could also be shut down if they can't renegotiate leases over the next two years.

Ascena has more than 4,850 stores across its brands, its earning documents say. Maurices is the biggest, with 1,012 locations. If 650 stores go, maurices likely wouldn't escape uninjured.

Maurices was started in Duluth back in 1931 by E. Maurice Labovitz. There are now a few dozen maurices stores in Minnesota, plus hundreds more around the country.

What went wrong?

It's sort of surprising because Ascena just bought Ann Taylor and Loft a couple years ago. And at the time, maurices was on an absolute roll, operating mostly independent of Ascena and with profits soaring.

But Ascena as a whole has had a rough past few months.

There were warnings signs last month when the company put out its guidance for the rest of the year, explaining sales were going to be down, the Motley Fool reported. That led to a huge drop in its stock.

Comparable sales in Ascena's value fashion category – which includes maurices and dressbarn – were down 4.4 percent after adjustments last quarter, financial records show. The premium fashion (down 5 percent) and plus fashion (minus 7.2 percent) categories did worse however.

The reasons Jaffe gave then are the same he provided Thursday.

He called it an "extremely competitive market environment," with in-store traffic continually plummeting as people look online to shop. And he expects that to cintinue into the future.

"Make no mistake, we were very disappointment with our performance for the quarter," Jaffe said, "and we must accelerate our transformation and improve execution across our portfolio."

Next Up

high school football

'Scalpel approach' gives MN schools chance to keep playing sports

County infection rates are no longer the only thing that matters.

CJ-AHyggeHoliday-Photo2

With the help of HVAC, Circus Juventas will host its first holiday shows

After months of canceled classes and shows, Circus Juventas is hosting its first ever holiday show, with safety precautions.

Cameron Dantzler

Vikings send Cameron Dantzler to COVID-19/reserve list

Dantzler's placement leaves the Vikings paper-thin at cornerback heading into Green Bay.

peterson fischbach

Elections 2020 preview: 7th Congressional District

Will Collin Peterson hang on for yet another term?

Zimmer and Hunter

Zimmer explains why he called Hunter's neck injury a 'tweak'

The coach also said Dalvin Cook should return from injury this week.

magazines

60 charged in magazine scam that netted $300M

It's being called the largest elder fraud scheme in the country.

Screen Shot 2020-10-28 at 10.30.23 AM

The Star Tribune is shutting down City Pages

The free newspaper was bought by the Star Tribune in 2015.

billy's on grand

Coronavirus: Billy's on Grand will close for winter

The restaurant is among a growing list of eateries to close for the winter months.

ambulance

1 dead in early Wednesday crash on Interstate 694

The 28-year-old driver was not wearing a seatbelt, the State Patrol said.

Related

Parent company of MN-based maurices buying Ann Taylor, Loft brands

The parent company of Duluth-based maurices is adding some more popular clothing brands to its expanding corporation.

Update: Payless confirms another MN store is closing, with 3 more possible

The company already said it was closing four stores here – now two more could get the boot.

Report says Gymboree could close a quarter of its stores

Gordmans, Bebe, Rue 21, GameStop, J.C. Penney ... Gymboree is the latest retailer to face store closures.

J.C. Penney reveals 8 Minnesota stores are closing

All the stores being shut down are outside the Twin Cities.

GameStop will close 150 stores

People didn't buy consoles and blockbuster video game titles as much.

Rue 21 says it could close even more stores

This would be on top of the 400 locations the clothing chain has already said will shut down.

J.C. Penney is closing 130-140 stores – and soon

There are 25 J.C. Penney Stores in Minnesota.

Discount retailer Gordmans files for bankruptcy; 6 MN stores at risk of closure

The company CEO says "until further notice, all Gordmans stores are operating as usual without interruption."