NEW YORK — The end came quietly Monday for Nautica’s beleaguered 50 Rockefeller Plaza flagship, as signs went up in the store’s windows announcing its closure. The store’s doors were locked, and employees turned away potential customers.

The bi-level, 14,000-square-foot store opened with much fanfare in April 2001 — with an opening party the following month that attracted Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Boomer Esiason — but it was plagued by weak sales from the get-go. The store was originally expected to ring up sales of $10 million to $12 million in its first year, but just six months after its debut Nautica was already reporting a challenging retail environment at the pricey location, with full-price selling below expectations.

In the third quarter of fiscal 2003 the company recorded a special charge of $6.5 million related to the write-down of fixed assets at the Rockefeller Plaza flagship.

Calls to Nautica and VF representatives were not returned by press time.

— David Lipke

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