Wilkes Bashford Shuts Carmel Store

Wilkes Bashford unit in affluent Carmel, Calif., is a victim of the recession.

Citing the recession, luxury retailer Wilkes Bashford closed its 10,000-square-foot store in Carmel, Calif., on Monday,

This story first appeared in the October 27, 2009 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

A smaller Wilkes Bashford store in Mill Valley, Calif., shut last month and, in February, slumping sales forced the company to cut 18 of its 97 employees.

The San Francisco-based specialty retailer opened the two-story unit in affluent Carmel, on the Monterey Peninsula, in August 2006. The store had seven employees and merchandise is being reallocated to the eight-floor, 27,000-square-foot flagship in San Francisco and the 9,500-square-foot store in Palo Alto, Calif.

The Carmel store was the company’s only location with a beauty department.

“Regrettably, our Carmel store is a victim of the downturn in the economy,” said Wilkes Bashford, founder and chairman of his namesake company. “While we are saddened by the closure of the Carmel store, it provides the opportunity to redirect our energies and resources to our downtown San Francisco flagship and Palo Alto stores.”

The Monterey Peninsula depends heavily on tourism to support many of its businesses, which have suffered in the recession.

Wilkes Bashford was founded in 1966 when the first store opened near Union Square in San Francisco. The luxury clothier built a reputation on selling brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Oscar de la Renta and Brioni. In 1967, Wilkes Bashford was the first American retailer to carry the Zegna label.