But it seems before there could be a renaissance, the retailer will have to hit bottom. And it looks like the end is near. Rumors have had the merchant at the brink of bankruptcy for a few months now, and according to reports this week, The Limited stores are closing across the country.
At the end of December, a Columbus Dispatch article reported the closure of footprints in Dayton, Ohio, and Orlando, Florida, as well as final sale signs in additional locations. In recent days, publications in North Carolina, Louisiana, Missouri and Wisconsin have chronicled the last days of stores in their areas.
One commenter in the original Dispatch story expressed her longstanding relationship with the chain. “Wow. I have been shopping at The Limited since I was in high school (early 90s). It has been my go to place for office apparel. My other coworkers and I are surprised, and disappointed. Found out because of news they closed the Chicago/Woodfield Mall location,” Jennifer Camron said.
Though there have been no official statements from The Limited, the chatter surrounding the company hasn’t been good. And the exodus from its executive ranks were telling. Last month the interim CEO of two months, John Buell, who had been with The Limited for 13 years—most recently working as chief financial officer, departed. Diane Ellis, his predecessor who’d filled the role since 2013, is now president of Chico’s.
Reports started circulating in November about a potential sale of the Columbus-based company, and then an early December filing with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which indicated The Limited would lay off up to all 248 staff members at its headquarters, painted a pretty clear picture of the chain’s future—though the company said the move was an attempt to allow it to focus on operating its stores.
The Limited, which launched in 1963, has reportedly taken on Kirkland & Ellis as a legal adviser and Guggenheim Securities and RAS Management Advisors to help with debt restructuring and asset sales.