Discounts of up to 70 percent would normally send shoppers into a frenzy, but the mood at the Loehmann’s on Broadway Thursday afternoon was somber as sales associates packed up clothing mannequins and set clearance signs along racks of already discounted designer clothing.
After 84 years, department store Loehmann’s will shutter its doors.
The Bronx-based retailer, renowned for its bargain designer goods and communal dressing rooms, will hold liquidation sales at its 39 locations until the end of March, when the stores will close permanently, corporate spokesperson Melissa Krantz said.
Loehmann’s Holdings Inc. currently employs 1,200 people, including 55 employees working at the corporate office in the Bronx and 33 employees at the Kingsbridge store at 5740 Broadway, according to Ms. Krantz.
Loehmann’s employees will not receive severance packages after the stores close, according to Kim Kim, 47, a salesclerk at the store.
“Times change, things change. What can you do about it?” asked Ms. Kim, who was storing away mannequins in the back room. A second employee said she was too upset to say anything about the closing. Manager Maggie Hargrove also declined to comment.
Loehmann’s opened its first store in 1921 in Brooklyn. The company’s first store in the Bronx opened nine years later on Fordham Road. The Kingsbridge store has been operating for three decades. The firm’s headquarters are currently located in the borough.
Those following the company’s plight have seen indications of financial trouble for more than a decade — Loehmann’s Holdings Inc. has filed for bankruptcy three times since 1999. On Jan. 8, a bankruptcy judge allowed the company to sell its inventory to liquidators for an estimated $16.4 million.
Discount department stores have struggled in the wake of economic downturn, fierce competition, and a move to online shopping, said Katherine Broihier, executive director of the Kingsbridge Business Improvement District.