News reports in November said The Limited Stores hired financial advisers to explore a potential sale and now the retailer says it will shutter its home office and let go of the staff employed there.
The Columbus-based womenswear purveyor filed a notice with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services explaining that it would lay off up to all 248 employees at its headquarters and close the facility in the face of sluggish sales.
“Limited Stores, like many of its peers, is facing ongoing challenges in the current retail environment,” the company told Columbus Business First. “After a detailed and thoughtful review, management has made the difficult decision to separate a number of associates at the company’s headquarters in New Albany.”
Layoffs have already started, according to Columbus Business First.
A spokesperson for the company said the move would allow The Limited to focus on operating its stores and e-commerce platforms while it looks at options to address its challenges, including engaging interested buyers.
Sun Capital Partners, The Limited’s private equity owner, acquired the company in 2007 to help improve its business model, but things don’t appear to have improved enough considering its present sales slump and lack of financial flexibility.
The Limited reportedly said in a letter to employees last week that if it doesn’t find a buyer, it will shutter all 243 of its stores as the debt burden would be too much to bear. The letter also said third quarter results were “very disappointing,” Columbus Business First reported, but no financials were disclosed. The company blamed product misses and shifts in shopping trends for its dismal position.
The Limited’s letter to the state said, “Although the details have not been finalized, absent intervening circumstances, this mass layoff is expected to be permanent.”