Filene's Basement Blues

Report: Orland Park store among those to be shut down

By Matt Bartosik
|  Wednesday, Jan 21, 2009  |  Updated 6:26 PM CDT
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Filene's Basement Blues

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Filene's Basement--famous for its annual "Running of the Brides" sale--plans to close two of its Chicago locations by the end of February.

No one is untouched by the rough economic times. Not even one of Boston's landmark businesses, that claims to have invented the bargain.

Filene's Basement, known for its annual "Running of the Brides" gown sale, plans to close about a third of its 36 stores by the end of February, including two in Chicago.

The retailer has been unable to negotiate lower rents at 11 locations, according to Julie Davis, general counsel of parent company Retail Ventures Inc.

"We're still hoping there are some landlord negotiations that might help us keep stores," Davis said.

While unfortunate, the store closings are not a surprise to most, especially after the worst holiday shopping season in more than 40 years. Consumers, facing several economic issues, are just not spending as much as retailers would like them to, forcing retailers to cut jobs or close stores.

Filene's Chicagoland locations include Michigan Avenue, State Street, Orland Park, and Schaumburg. STNG Wire reports indicated the Orland Park will be one of the stores shut down, but Filene's corporate headquarters has not confirmed that. 

Other stores to be closed are in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, two in Pennsylvania, and three in Maryland.

"This is a very tough environment," Mark Millman, a retail consultant and chief executive officer of Millman Search Group, told the Baltimore Sun. "You would think with [Filene's] pricing and selection, they would be doing well or faring better than most."

Davis declined to comment whether there would be cuts at the chain's Burlington headquarters.

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