Thursday, July 10, 2008

Compare and Contrast

5/1/2008: Is This the World's Cheapest Dress?

At its 264 barnlike stores in malls across the country, including the perpetually mobbed one at the Manhattan Mall in Midtown, Steve & Barry’s offers an assortment of flowery sundresses designed by Sarah Jessica Parker ($8.98), heart-printed hoodies by the Nickelodeon alumna Amanda Bynes ($8.98) and basketball shoes by the New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury ($8.98). Lines at the registers are often 20 deep....

The significance of planning a store on Broadway — by the time it opens this fall, it will be around the 300th Steve & Barry’s in the country and the largest in New York — is not lost on Steve Shore and Barry Prevor, childhood friends from Long Island who founded the company in 1985.

During an interview last month in their headquarters in Port Washington, N.Y., Mr. Shore, from Syosset, and Mr. Prevor, from Merrick, both 44, said the location was a logical choice, given its proximity to New York University and their target demographic. It is also intended to send a message to the fashion industry, which has largely underestimated the chain despite sales last year, according to the business-research firm Hoover’s Inc., of $1.1 billion....

Prices at Steve & Barry’s are actually dropping — the $8.98 threshold was introduced as a holiday promotion last year, but remains with no set expiration, Mr. Prevor said. (At the newest store in Waipahu, Hawaii, which opened last Friday, the highest price is $9.98, reflecting increased shipping costs.)

Meanwhile, the company’s sales at locations open at least a year, a crucial indicator of retail health, have increased more than 20 percent each month since January, he said.

7/9/2008: Steve & Barry's files for bankruptcy protection
Steve & Barry's LLC, once a growing force in low-priced fashion retailing, said Wednesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest merchant to succumb to a harsh consumer spending climate.

It also announced that it was considering a plan to sell all or some of its assets to repay outstanding debt.

The Port Washington, N.Y.-based chain, which operates 276 locations in 39 states, said that it and 63 of its affiliates filed the petition in the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York.

Company officials blamed a cash crunch as a result of the tighter credit markets and general sluggish economic conditions. That hurt its plans to open stores and its ability to borrow money.

Let's go back to the first article for a minute:
Steve & Barry’s, for the uninitiated, is to fashion what Tower once was to music.

Sounds like they're getting more and more like Tower all the time!

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

Kind of sad really, more stores should offer low-cost fashion. But when times are hard, fashion is one of the first things to scrimp on. And when your clientele is already in the lower economic segment of the market, you'll suffer more so. Hopefully they will hold on until times get better (Obama in '08!)