Bankrupt American Apparel has shuttered all its 13 U.K. stores save one in Camden, at the cost 150 jobs, The Guardian reports.
American Apparel began winding down its U.K. operations last month, ending shipments to its stores there and leaving them with just enough inventory to get through the holidays. The Camden location is slated to close next month.
American Apparel is also terminating its operations in Spain, Japan and Australia. Its lone store in Ireland closed earlier this year, according to The Guardian.
While the American Apparel brand was robust enough to attract a $66 million bid from Canadian T-shirt maker Gildan last month, neither Gildan nor any other entity is interested in its stores in the U.S. or anywhere else.
Since emerging from bankruptcy in February as a private company, American Apparel (which dominated the Nineties with its retro fashion sensibilities and sexualized marketing efforts) has continued to struggle with sales, and a turnaround never gained traction. The company's clothing was well made (and made in the U.S.) but not luxe, and, as fickle younger consumers began to frequent ultra-cheap, ultra-trendy fast-fashion retailers, it became increasingly harder in recent years to demand the higher prices that its quality and manufacture required. American Apparel CEO Paula Schneider — who had been tasked with the revamp after the bruising ouster of founder Dov Charney — ultimately stepped down in September amid reports that some of the company's operations might move overseas.
With its second bankruptcy in little over a year, filed in November, American Apparel is no longer taking about turnaround, but rather about shuttering stores and off-loading its intellectual property and inventory. Earlier this week the retailer got the go-ahead to close nine of its U.S. stores by Dec. 31; any remaining stores not sold will likely close by the end of April.
It’s not clear how much interest American Apparel's January auction will attract outside of Gildan and liquidators.
"The brand name itself is completely cool, I don’t think anyone has an issue with it and the price points were always attractive," Mark Cohen, Columbia University business school retail studies professor, told Retail Dive. "[But] there’s no rational business plan there, and there hasn’t been for many years. For the brand to have a future someone has to craft a business plan that makes sense. Gildan is big enough, they're deep pocketed enough to do that, but it's not clear what their endgame strategy is. Smart people with enough cash and control can do successful things."