Specialty apparel retailer Esprit just announced its parent company Esprit Holdings will close its 93 stores in North America, reports The Wall Street Journal. The closures are part of a global restructuring effort that will also include closures in Spain, Denmark and Sweden, as well as in Asia Pacific. After reporting a huge fall in profits for fiscal 2011, Esprit Holdings made a decision to concentrate on its core markets of Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France and China.
The closures might not yet be reason to panic about the upcoming holiday shopping season, however. As much as economists worry about the U.S. consumer, many former fans of Esprit, which initially made a splash here in the 1980s, have been complaining the chain's fashions just weren't what they used to be. Some experienced market observers have said as much. For example, Convoy Investment Services CEO Eugene Law, stated:
The most valuable asset for a fashion firm is its brand. Esprit's brand value was severely destroyed. It would be a very tough task to get the company's business back on the growth track.