Saks Inc. is closing the 78-door Club Libby Lu tween specialty store business, which no longer fits its strategic model.
Saks has trimmed down in recent years to focus on its namesake business, selling its Parisian and Profitt’s/McRae’s businesses to Belk Inc. and its Northern Department Store Group to The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.
“Club Libby Lu is an innovative concept that was a better strategic fit with our traditional department store business,” said Stephen I. Sadove, chairman and chief executive officer of Saks. The chain was described as an experience-driven concept catering to VIPs, or “very important princesses” between ages four and 12.
In addition to the specialty stores, there are also 20 Club Libby Lu shop-in-shops at department stores previously owned by Saks. The business generated about $60 million in sales last year, Saks said.
“Discontinuing the operations of Club Libby Lu is the appropriate decision so that we can focus 100 percent of our time and resources on executing the strategies of our core Saks Fifth Avenue business,” Sadove said.
The shutdown, set to be completed by the end of Saks’ first quarter on May 2, will leave dark even more real estate in a market already struggling to fill space from store closings or bankruptcies. Wilsons The Leather Experts, Talbots and D.e.m.o. are just some of the specialty chains that have shuttered doors this year.
Club Libby Lu employs about 1,700 associates, who will be offered severance packages.
The closure will weigh on Saks’ earnings for the rest of this year and is expected to result in an after-tax noncash charge of about $11 million in the third quarter and after-tax charges ranging from $18 million to $27 million in the fourth quarter.
Saks acquired the mall-based chain in May 2003 from three owners for about $12 million when it had just 11 stores.
But the company began to focus more on its namesake luxe stores and by September 2005 there was speculation that the then 51-door chain would be sold. Potential bidders were said to include Forever 21, Too Inc., Claire’s and Build-A-Bear.
At the time, Saks was said to be looking for $40 million for the chain, but couldn’t put together a deal.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye