Dress Barn's Bad Bet
And other August 2019 marketplace closings
From the August, 2019 issue
Ayaka, the modern Japanese restaurant on South University, closed suddenly last month shortly after its neighbor, China Gate, announced its own closure. Landlord Hughes Properties opted to give China Gate's spot to Oasis Grill (whose original East U spot was in the development zone of a new Hughes student housing high-rise) after their lease ended, but according to a manager at the neighboring Motivation boutique, Ayaka's closure was due to the business's own financial struggles.
Other closings include the Wendy's restaurant in Plymouth Rd.'s Courtyard Shops, and the Packard St. Grillcheezerie, whose January closing we missed at the time.
By year's end, they'll be joined by the Arborland Dress Barn known for its substantial stock of plus-sized clothing, the chain was founded in 1962 by Roslyn and Elliot Jaffe. In the last decade, its parent company bought up hundreds of stores discarded by Les Wexner's L Brands, including Justice (ne Limited Too), Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, and Maurice's.
The Jaffes' bet against the retail apocalypse was a catastrophe. After losing billions of dollars, the stock is down from $15 five years ago to less than $1. In May the family gave up operational control. Maurice's has been sold, and all 650 Dress Barn locations soon will close.
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[Originally published in August, 2019.]
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