- Women's apparel retailer Coldwater Creek has shut down. The retailer is not taking new orders and in the meantime is managing through recent purchases, according to its website.
- A spokesperson for the retailer's private equity owner, Sycamore Partners, declined to comment or say whether the shutdown is permanent, or what, if any, plans Sycamore has for the Coldwater Creek brand.
- "The challenging issues brought on by COVID-19 have led us down a path we were not expecting," Coldwater Creek said on its website. "Coldwater Creek's retail locations and website are closed and we are unable to take any orders. Thank you for being a valued part of our family and story. Please check back now and then for any updates."
Coldwater Creek traces its roots back to the 1980s, when it was founded in Sandpoint, Idaho. Into the 2010s it ran stores, a catalog, an online business and even spas aimed at women between 35 and 50, before its debt and a poor holiday period caught up with it, sending it into bankruptcy in 2014.
Sycamore partners picked up Coldwater Creek's intellectual property after the retailer went bankrupt and liquidated its physical footprint. Under Sycamore, it started opening new physical stores again starting in 2017.
In recent years, Coldwater Creek struggled to win younger fans. Racked reported in 2017 that the retailer ranked as one of the lowest brands with millennials, with just 3% of its web sales coming from that age cohort.
COVID-19 dealt a blow to the retailer, as it has apparel retailers across the board. With apparel sales trends already stagnant, the pandemic brought the dual blows of operational and financial disruption, and at the same time a shift in discretionary spending. The latter came as consumers stocked up on essentials while in lockdown and faced a potentially deep and protracted recession that began with the closures.
It's not clear whether Coldwater will file for bankruptcy again or if Sycamore will be able to wind the retailer down out of court. It is one of several apparel and consumer brands owned by Sycamore, which controls Talbots, The Limited, Torrid and Belk, among others. The private equity player is reported to be interested in buying J.C. Penney and Ascena out of bankruptcy, shortly after calling off a deal with L Brands for a majority stake in its Victoria's Secret business.