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Canadian Denim Retailer Jean Machine to Close After 42 Years

Known regionally for its dozens of locations in Ontario, Canada, denim and apparel retailer Jean Machine has said it will close its doors after four decades in business.

Through its announcement on social media, the retailer said it plans to close 20 locations by January 2019, with all 24 stores being fully shuttered the following month.

“Having been in business now for over 42 years, this decision was not taken lightly,” Lisa Hryciuk, Jean Machine president, said in a statement. “It has been our pleasure and privilege to serve you over these years, and we still hope to see you over the next few months.”

Jean Machine customers will be able to shop at the remaining locations until the final stores are closed, although the retailer said it is transitioning to an “all sales are final” policy as of last week’s announcement. Any purchases made prior to November will be afforded the typical 14-day return window. Additionally, the company will honor all existing gift cards but stressed that cardholders will need to exhaust remaining funds before the last store closes its doors.

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Jean Machine filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2017 and was purchased by Comark Service Inc. two months later. The company said it had been battling lackluster performance in the Canadian apparel market for some time, which made continuing business operations untenable.

“We continued to experience losses that ultimately we were reluctant to continue with,” Comark CEO Gerry Bachynski told The Canadian Press. “The other thing that forced our hand was 10 of the 24 leases were terminating at the end of January and up for renewal, so if there was a time to wind the business up, it was the best possible timing.”

Jean Machine sold apparel from Buffalo David Bitton, Guess, Jack and Jones and Levi’s, and had been under heavy pressure as the Canadian denim market became saturated by newer apparel chains like H&M and Nordstrom in recent years, according to the CBC.

The most recent data from Euromonitor shows the overall influx of fast-fashion in 2017 has challenged traditional denim brands and retailers in Canada. Although denim appears to be rebounding, as it has in the United States, Canada can sometimes fall a step behind U.S. trends. Jean Machine’s troubles mimic the trouble brands in American markets faced in previous years—namely falling behind athleisure and being too slow to modify inventory to fit changing consumer needs.