Bethany Clough

Two big-name women’s clothing stores in Fresno closing

This March 5, 2013 file photo shows an Ann Taylor store in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Ann Taylor is closing its River Park store.
This March 5, 2013 file photo shows an Ann Taylor store in Mount Lebanon, Pa. Ann Taylor is closing its River Park store. AP

Two big-name women’s clothing stores in Fresno – Ann Taylor and The Limited – are closing.

The Limited at Fashion Fair has already closed. Ann Taylor at River Park is scheduled to close Jan. 21, but the discount Ann Taylor LOFT will remain.

Representatives with each store either could not be reached or declined to comment about why the stores are closing.

The Limited

The Limited, which sold professional and night-out clothes for women, had returned to Fashion Fair in 2012 after a six-year absence. It opened in the new exterior portion of the mall. At the time, The Limited had a new CEO and had revamped its brand and changed its look.

The Limited is closing stores across the nation, though the company has not said how many or which stores it is closing. The stores are owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners, which declined to comment about the closure.

Sun Capital frequently buys troubled companies, fixes them and sells them for a profit, but that process apparently didn’t pan out this time. Several news outlets predict that The Limited will file for bankruptcy protection and sell off everything in its stores, including clothing, shelves and the property it leases or owns.

Ann Taylor

Although a few Ann Taylor stores are closing nationwide, there is no mass die-off happening.

The company did not return a call seeking comment about the closure of the Fresno store. River Park spokeswoman Tracy Kashian said the store’s lease was set to expire in about a year.

“It’s us and them working together, saying we want to bring in new tenants, this is the space they want,” she said, adding that Shabby Abby Boutique next door will move to another spot at the center, clearing out space for a larger, unidentified business.

Ann Taylor has closed a few locations here in recent years, including the Ann Taylor in Fig Garden Village in 2009 and later the Ann Taylor LOFT discount store at Fashion Fair.

However, store closures this time of year are common as companies look back on how they did last year and prepare for a new year.

Although the holiday shopping season was a healthy one, plenty of purchases were made online, which hurts brick-and-mortar stores. More stores nationwide are expected to close.

Macy’s, Kmart

Macy’s plans to close about 100 of its stores, though none in the Valley are on closure lists circulated by several media outlets.

The Valley is also losing Kmart stores in Kingsburg and Coalinga. Sears Holdings, which owns Sears and Kmart, is struggling and plans to close about 150 stores.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough