American Apparel is opening (or, more accurately, reopening) a store in Los Angeles some time in October to December, during the company's fourth quarter, a company spokesperson told Retail Dive.
It will be located at 7726 Melrose Ave, in part of what was a former American Apparel store location, according to Garry Bell, Vice President of Corporate Marketing and Communications at American Apparel parent Gildan Activewear Inc.
It will be the first American Apparel store opened by Gildan since the Canadian basics manufacturer and wholesaler bought the company at a bankruptcy auction in early 2017, he said.
Gildan promised from the beginning that it would preserve much of American Apparel's best attributes, including making some of its apparel in the U.S. Re-opening an LA location is highly symbolic of that.
American Apparel founder Dov Charney moved the company's headquarters and manufacturing to the city in the 1990s and often said that its multicultural, artistic and entrepreneurial nature was core to the brand. Charney himself, ousted during a high-drama showdown several years ago before the company's two, close-together bankruptcies, has launched a new brand, Los Angeles Apparel, that almost immediately began competing with his former company in wholesale and now also sells retail online.
Gildan's appropriation of the brand has been smooth, and sales have recovered nicely, Bell said. "We quickly integrated the brand into our existing printwear business and then launched the U.S. focused online store at www.americanapparel.com in August 2017," he told Retail Dive in an email last week. "This e-comm site has done well, growing every month, and gave us the confidence to extend the reach of this site into 200+ countries a couple of weeks ago."
The new flagship could be just the beginning, although the company is being cautious. "We continue to be excited about the prospects for this brand and will carefully evaluate the results from this initial flagship store to determine the best path forward for the brand," Bell said.
Such caution is warranted. While Charney's sexually tinged marketing and his own dubious sexual antics are widely seen as contributors to American Apparel's downfall, the company may also have over-expanded its global physical footprint, leading Gildan to take a more careful approach this time around.