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Retail Roundup: Girls' clothing chain Justice closing all stores, including 3 left on LI

Justice will close its three remaining LI stores

Justice will close its three remaining LI stores this weekend. Here, the store in the Lake Success Shopping Center in New Hyde Park. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Tween girls on Long Island who are fans of clothing chain Justice will have fewer options for picking up the latest fashions because the retailer is shutting down all its stores.

A chain that sells clothing and accessories for girls 6 to 12 years old, Justice will close its remaining 108 stores by early next year, parent company Ascena Retail Group Inc. announced Wednesday.

But the three remaining Long Island stores that will close this weekend were part of a list of 23 closings announced in September. Those three stores — in Tanger Outlets Riverhead, Tanger Outlets Deer Park and Lake Success Shopping Center in New Hyde Park — will close Sunday, employees at the stores said Wednesday.

Since Ascena filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July, it has closed hundreds of clothing stores, including 13 on Long Island — eight Justices, a Catherine’s in Patchogue, two Lane Bryants and two Lane Bryant Outlets.

Ascena did not respond to questions about the closings, including an inquiry about how many jobs will be affected by the shutdowns.

The 5,000-square-foot Justice in Deer Park and 4,500-square-foot store in New Hyde Park both opened in 2008, representatives for the shopping centers said.

Tanger Outlets Riverhead did not respond to a request for comment.

Ascena announced Wednesday that Justice Brand Holdings LLC, an entity formed by Manhattan-based brand management company Bluestar Alliance LLC, submitted a winning auction bid of $90 million to buy the intellectual property and certain related assets of Justice. .

"A wind down of all Justice locations is expected to conclude by early 2021," Mahwah, New Jersey-based Ascena said in a statement.

But the closing of hundreds of Ascena’s stores, including the three remaining Justices on Long Island, was already in the works before the Bluestar deal.

After Ascena filed for bankruptcy protection, it announced closings totaling 1,138 brick-and-mortar stores, including "a significant number of Justice stores," all locations of plus-size women’s clothing chain Catherine’s, and some women’s clothing stores under the Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey names.

Ascena had 2,764 stores as of Feb. 1, including 820 Justices.

The company had been struggling for years with high debt and some weak brands, especially as Lane Bryant and Catherine’s lost a growing share of the plus-size women’s clothing market to mainstream and online retailers. But the company blamed losses from the COVID-19 pandemic for its move into bankruptcy protection.

"The meaningful progress we have made driving sustainable growth, improving our operating margins and strengthening our financial foundation has been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we took a strategic step forward today to protect the future of the business for all of our stakeholders," Carrie Teffner, interim executive chair of Ascena, said in a statement in July.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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