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Plus-size women's clothing chain to close 11 Long Island stores

Avenue is closing all of its stores, including

Avenue is closing all of its stores, including the 11 on Long Island. Shown here is the chain's Airport Plaza location in Farmingdale. Credit: Google Maps

Avenue, the women’s plus-size clothing retailer, will close all 222 of its stores in 33 states, including the 11 on Long Island, according to a company hired to help manage the liquidation.

The 11 Long Island stores include locations at Airport Plaza in Farmingdale, Commack Shopping Center, Baldwin Plaza, Smith Haven Plaza in Lake Grove and Centereach Square.

Avenue’s corporate office did not respond to a request for comment about why or when the stores would shutter.

Store managers at the chain's Long Island locations reached Wednesday said they did not know when their stores would close.

Avenue is offering discounts of 30 percent to 50 percent off the lowest-ticketed prices on all merchandise, said Hilco Merchant Resources of Chicago, the company overseeing the liquidation in partnership with Gordon Brothers, a Boston-based firm. In-store fixtures will be sold, too.

“Given the popularity of the brand and the seasonal trends, merchandise is sure to sell out quickly. We are encouraging consumers to shop early and take advantage of these offers,” a representative said in the Hilco statement.

Avenue Stores LLC, based in Rochelle Park, New Jersey, is owned by Versa Capital Management LLC, a Philadelphia-based private equity firm.

Versa did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday, but a day before issued a statement that gave no indication the chain was closing, despite media reports to the contrary, including one from Retail Dive on Tuesday.

“We remain focused on Avenue as a retail destination for style-minded, plus-size women,” Versa said in a statement Tuesday.

Founded as Sizes Unlimited in 1983, Avenue sells shoes and accessories, and women’s clothing in sizes 14 to 32. 

The chain has been closing stores for some time. In December 2017, it reported having more than 280 stores across 35 states.

The news comes amid a slew of other store shutdowns announced this year as retailers contend with more online competition and bankruptcies, and reshape their store fleets, said John Mercer, senior analyst at Coresight Research Inc., a Manhattan retail analyst.

American retailers had announced 7,567 major store closings and 3,064 openings so far this year, according to a report Coresight released Thursday. The announced closings this year already have exceeded all of those for 2018 — 5,524.

Coresight Research estimates that announced U.S. store closures could reach a record-breaking 12,000 by the end of 2019.

“In terms of the kinds of stores being closed, it’s not so much a polarization between stores being shopped by one demographic or another, or tier of store," Mercer said. "This is more about retailers that are weak or have an indistinct value proposition versus those that have something unique to offer their customers, and particularly noting that consumers today have so much choice.”

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