The chain’s owner, Sun Capital Partners, closed all remaining doors on Sunday. The approximately 250 brick-and-mortar stores employed 4,000 workers.
According to Reuters, Sun Capital informed investors on Friday in a letter that read in part: “In an increasingly challenging environment for mall-based retail and women’s apparel, we are very disappointed that the company has had to make the difficult decision to close its retail locations.”
The company is exploring an e-tail pureplay option.
A post on the retailer’s web site reads: “This isn’t goodbye…We’re sad to say that all The Limited stores nationwide have officially closed their doors. But this isn’t goodbye. The styles you love are still available online—We’re just a quick click away 24 hours a day.”
The store closures follow a disturbing trend at retail, as physical stores continue to struggle to compete amid changing consumer shopping habits. Overall store traffic fell by 12.3% over the 2016 holiday period. Increased competition from e-commerce, a desire for more experienced-based expenditures and the allure of fast-fashion, which offers a continuous stream of newness, has made traditional stores less appealing. Facing similar woes, Sears is set to close 150 stores, while Macy’s has plans to shutter 65 by mid-year.
Questions surrounding The Limited’s future had been swirling for weeks. Sun Capital reportedly tried to sell the business earlier in the year. Then in early December, The Limited Stores indicated it would lay off up to 248 employees at its headquarters. This was followed by reports of individual locations quietly shuttering. And the turmoil went straight up the ranks with turnover at the executive level. CEO Diane Ellis left after three years in the position, and just two months later, acting CEO John Buell departed.
Sun Capital, which owned the chain for nine years, reportedly managed to provide investors with some positive news: The company reported it made 1.8 times its $50 million-dollar investment.
Credited with helping to bring the specialty retail model to malls, The Limited was founded in 1963 in Columbus, Ohio. Positioned as a go-to for sophisticated professionals, the store strove to offer private-label pieces that allowed shoppers to execute on their personal style.