Fashion Exodus? Fort Losing another Clothing Retailer
Penningtons, located in the Cornerstone Shopping Centre complex, is slated to close effective July 28th, marking the second departure of a clothing retailer at Cornerstone in the last two years.
Although the reasons for the store’s closure are of course subject to speculation, the shutdown comes at a time of challenge for Pennington’s parent company, Reitmans Canada Inc. The company also operates stores under the Reitmans, Smart Set, RW&Co., Thyme Maternity and Addition Elle banners.
Jeremey H. Reitman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Reitmans Canada told shareholders in late May that the company was experiencing a “difficult retail environment.”
Reitman also blamed larger economic factors, including higher fuel and food prices, stating that this had reduced “consumer disposable income for apparel.”
Although numbers are not available for the most recent quarter, between January and April, the company closed more than twice as many stores as it opened, including three Penningtons locations. OEP has learned one of those locations was in Moose Jaw, SK.
Sales in the quarter were also down on both a company wide and same-store basis during the quarter, while profit margins were also weaker. That report came on the heels of the company indicating full year sales were also substantially weaker when considering the entire 2011-12 fiscal year, in which they closed 56 stores while opening 30.
In light of the decline, the company appears to be attempting to diversify its product marketing. For example, Reitmans announced late last month that it had formed a partnership to sell Thyme Maternity clothing in nearly two hundred Babies “R” Us stores in the United States. The company also appointed a new Executive Vice President at the end of May.
Of note is that Penningtons is not the only local retailer to be closing in the near future; also closing shortly is downtown’s Adorable Baby.