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Apparel retailer The Limited may shut down

December 19, 2016 05:10 PM
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Women’s apparel retailer Limited Stores LLC’s financial struggles may result in layoffs, an acquisition or the business shutting down entirely.

Limited Stores, which operates retail chains, outlet stores and e-commerce sites for brands The Limited and The Luxe Collection, filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services on Nov. 28 stating that there will be “a mass layoff at the Limited Stores LLC facility” and that it is possible its headquarters in New Albany, Ohio, may be closed. That would include up to 248 employees at the facility losing their jobs. Limited Stores, No. 216 in Internet Retailer’s Top 1000 Guide, has not reported whether layoffs have begun, but the notice says that employees were expected to be separated from employment beginning Dec. 2.

The filing with the Ohio government agency also included the letter Limited Stores sent its employees. The letter states that the company’s third quarter results were “very disappointing” and that they “substantially missed” the sales budget. “We have now determined that the combination of sales misses and the level of existing financial obligations will require that the company be sold or we will have to wind down our operations due to an anticipated lack of operating capital,” the notice says. The notice goes on to say that the company is actively looking for potential buyers, but that it is possible no purchaser will be found, or that a purchaser will decide to discontinue the company’s operations.

Representatives of the company declined to respond to questions regarding whether these layoffs have begun or if this includes its e-commerce operations.  Limited Stores did provide this statement to Internet Retailer:

“Limited Stores, like many of its peers, is facing ongoing challenges in the current retail environment. After a detailed and thoughtful review, management has made the difficult decision to separate a number of associates at the company’s headquarters in New Albany. This action enables us to focus our resources on the operation of our stores and e-commerce platforms while we continue exploring options to address these challenges and provide greater financial flexibility, including discussions with a number of interested buyers.”

Limited Stores is not publicly traded and does not disclose revenue on a quarterly basis. The retailer in February told Internet Retailer that e-commerce sales grew 15.4% in 2015 to $130.0 million. Its compound annual growth rate for online sales between 2010 and 2015 was 21.3%. Limited Stores began selling online at TheLimited.com in 2008, according to Top500Guide.com. The Limited was founded in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio, and began as a mall-based specialty retailing chain.

TheLimited.com is currently operating and site-wide the retailer is offering 70% off everything in addition to free shipping. There’s a note on the top of the website that says all sales are final. On The Limited’s Facebook page, the company addressed customer complaints about significant delays in deliveries. “As many of you have noted, our shipping is significantly behind schedule. This is due in large part to the volume of holiday business we received on the week of Black Friday through Cyber Monday,” the company wrote.

Several top executives have left the company in the last couple months. CEO Diane Ellis left Limited Stores in October to join apparel retailer Chico’s FAS Inc. as president. Ellis spent three years as CEO of The Limited. Former executive vice president of e-commerce Jenn McClain left The Limited in November and now is chief marketing officer at iFLY Indoor Skydiving, according to her LinkedIn page. She served as senior vice president and executive vice president at The Limited since August 2015. Greg Baker, former vice president of general counsel and business development, told Internet Retailer he resigned from the company last week. 

 

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