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Rue21 Opens Buying Office to Source Directly Within the L.A. Fashion District

Fast fashion retailer Rue21 has opened a buying office on the West Coast so it can source within the Los Angeles Fashion District community.

According to Michael C. Appel, the retailer’s chief executive officer, the company decided to “get closer to the source for the majority of fast fashion wholesalers and manufacturers who are based in Los Angeles.” He said the new office will improve Rue21’s ability to “source cutting edge product at highly competitive prices.”

The new buying office is at the Stanford Place, Suite B5, at 810 East Pico Boulevard, in the Los Angeles Fashion District. As for the location, Rue21 noted that 70 percent of the district is comprised of wholesale-related businesses, and has become a destination for buyers, retailers, wholesalers and designers. The District hosts five market weeks each year, and there are more than 2,000 independent wholesalers and various apparel marts located throughout the 100-block district.

Appel also said the company hired Kara Stangl as vice president and divisional merchandise manager to help with the retailer’s expansion of its presence in California. Stangl was previously at Wet Seal in a similar position. Before that she was vice president of accessories at Dots and senior vice president at Charlotte Russe. She reports to Karen Pinney, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer.

The CEO explained that the strengthening of its existing merchandise organization will allow the company to continue its expansion in the juniors, juniors plus and young men’s businesses.

Pinney noted, “In addition to apparel, there is a significant opportunity for our growth in footwear, a ‘white space’ created with the recent demise of both Charlotte Russe and Payless Shoes. Our California expansion will significantly enhance out ability to source shoes as we continue to develop our business in Industry City, the industrial suburb of Los Angeles.”