Grand Forks, ND-based Vanity announced this week that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to a company press release.
The women’s specialty apparel retailer is closing all of its 140 stores across 27 states, and some 1,200 to 1,400 employees will be out of work. Its website is advertising a “going out of business” sale, and stores will hold such sales through March and possible into next month.
Privately held Vanity was founded in the 1950s. “The commitment and adaptability of Vanity and its employees has been a key to Vanity’s success throughout its many years,” Chairman of the Board James Bennett said in a statement. “We would like to thank our employees for their service and loyalty. We also sincerely appreciate all of our customers – both past and present.”
Apparel retailers, always beset by fickle consumer tastes— and these days by changing consumer behavior that is sending more purchases online and fewer in malls — are increasingly turning to the nation’s bankruptcy courts for relief.
Many, as Vanity plans to, are throwing in the towel, shuttering stores and their e-commerce sites and leaving market shares to those that remain. As retailers continue to adapt and avoid the many jagged edges of the current retail landscape, some are finding opportunity in the demise of those that lose their footing.
CEO Art Peck told analysts on a conference call last month that the woes of those retailers present an opportunity. “[W]e can all pick our favorite company that's no longer in business and when the lights go off and the windows get boarded over, that is market share that is made available to the rest of the industry,” Peck said. “[The customer's] not stopping shopping. She's shopping someplace else.”
Privately held Vanity joins American Apparel, The Limited Stores and Wet Seal, which have ceased operations, as well as Eastern Mountain Sports and BCBG Max Azria, in filing for Chapter 11 protection this year.