With its online business substantially outpacing store sales, Chicago-based contemporary fashion retailer Active Endeavors plans to close all its units and become strictly an online retailer.
"The stores had become a bit of an albatross," said chief executive officer Drew Davis. He noted that his Web site, activeendeavors.com, generates more than $10 million in sales each year and continues to grow by 20 to 30 percent annually. Sales at his stores were flat.
Initially opening as a women's and men's shop for outdoor gear with labels such as The North Face and Patagonia in 1985, Active Endeavors added fashion items in the Nineties, most recently carrying trendy pieces from Trovata, Rachel Pally, Rebecca Taylor and Daftbird.
At its peak, the company grew to five stores, with two in Chicago, one each in suburban Glencoe and Evanston and one in Boulder, Colo. But it gained a national and international audience as an online retailer, launching its e-commerce site in 2003. This month, the company closed its last Chicago store on Armitage Avenue and the one in Glencoe. Its third unit in Evanston will operate as an outlet through February, and then will close.
The response was both immediate and surprising, said Davis, who now has some 150,000 regular online customers, most from the East and West Coasts. About 20 percent of his Web-based business is international with a mere 2 percent of its clients from the Midwest. "Without the distractions of the myriad tasks it takes to run brick-and-mortar stores, we will be able to focus on bringing the most exciting collections to a very popular Web site," Davis said, noting plans to add Abaeté, Helmut Lang and Hanky Panky to the site this spring.
Davis also cited increased competition at his Chicago location on Armitage Avenue, where Intermix recently opened, and sluggish sales at specialty stores in general as factors in his decision.
"I don't know if it's a trend, but it's a reality," he said. "Brick-and-mortar stores are struggling and online is still growing.
"When we started in 2003, it was dicey," he said of doing business online. "Now people trust it."
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion
@carmeloanthony is upping his fashion game once again, introducing a hat collection with @goorinbros. Called Fresh Greens by Melo x Goorin, the line consists of five unisex models, all of which are made in America from 100 percent wool. Each hat is lined with Anthony’s signature and the inscription “Knowledge of self, wisdom and understanding.” You can purchase the collection line at Goorin’s website as well as three off its stores in San Francisco, New York City and Las Vegas #wwdaccessories
“I am of tradition, but that doesn’t mean I have an old outlook on life,” Hubert de Givenchy told WWD in an interview in 1978. The legendary designer, who died last week at the age of 91, achieved wide success soon after launching his own couture boutique in the early ’50s, but he refused to pine for that time. For the first time since its original publication, read our interview with Givenchy on his awe for Audrey Hepburn and looking forward. Link in bio. #wwdarchives #fbf (📷: Pierre Schermann)
About last night: @alexachung and @supergausa toasted the launch of their capsule collection. “It’s the shape that I love, so rather than amend the last and make the sole crazy or do anything wild, we just did really subtle additions that I think make it look really luxe-y,” said Chung. #wwdfashion (📷: Marc Patrick)
Exclusive: @off____white’s @virgilabloh is launching an exclusive eyewear capsule collection @sunglasshut. The unisex collection, which is made up of three styles, first made its debut on the brand’s fall runway show in Paris. Get all the details on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion