Saks has been trying to unload its Club Libby Lu stores almost as long as it has owned them, and now it has finally succeeded in ridding itself of the teen clothing chain. Club Libby Lu will be closing 98 locations over the next six months.
The once-hot teen clothing sector has cooled considerably since Saks bought this chain in 2003 for $12 million, and it has been downright chilly for the last few months as the economy fell apart. The recession has curbed liberal teen spending as parents have started to say no, and even teens have felt the pinch of losing jobs.
The latest sales figures show that spending at teen-oriented stores has been down almost across the board, as chains like Old Navy, Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle struggle. Only Aeropostale has been a winner in the numbers. Meanwhile, several other teen chains are in trouble, like Arden B and Demo, a spin-off of PacSun.
Saks will be closing all locations of its troubled Club Libby Lu stores, which appeal to girls age 6 to 13, over the next six months. The club has nearly 100 branches in shopping malls across the US, but has not been a profitable addition to Saks' business.
Paul J. Richards, AFP / Getty Images
Arden B, a sister chain to teen-apparel retailer Wet Seal, could be one of the casualties of weak back-to-school sales. The specialty store, which caters to people in their 20s, is in a considerable slump.
Frank Franklin II, AP
The Limited Too, a division of Tween Brands Inc., that catered to 7-14-year-old girls, has already lost out. All 600 stores will be converted lower-priced Justice brand, which just launched in 2004. Demo, a sister chain of Pacific Sunwear, is also closing up shop.
Mark Lennihan, AP
The one teen-oriented store that is thriving the best is Urban Outfitters, which also owns Anthropologie and Free People, with sales up 13 percent overall.
George Widman, AP
It's not just teen brands that are suffering. Ruehl, a spin-off of Abercrombie & Fitch that is aimed at older shoppers, is also struggling, but the company is sticking with the concept for now.