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Retail Roundup: Modell's, Catherines each closing LI store

The Modell's Sporting Goods in Airport Plaza in

The Modell's Sporting Goods in Airport Plaza in Farmingdale will close Sept. 15. The store has been in the shopping center since 1999. Photo Credit: Newsday/Tory N. Parrish

Two more chain store locations are calling it quits on Long Island — and expiring leases are being partly blamed.

Another local Modell’s Sporting Goods store is closing — this time in Airport Plaza in Farmingdale on Sept. 15 — and Catherines, a women’s plus-size clothing shop, is shuttering its Carle Place location July 28, employees said.

Both stores are owned by companies that are experiencing their fair share  of business challenges these days. Catherines is a sister chain to Dressbarn, a  650-store chain that their parent company is shutting down.

The Modell’s in Farmingdale will be the second of the retailer’s Long Island stores to close this year — the Manhattan-based company shut its Riverhead store in January.

Several store-closing signs are in the windows at the Farmingdale location. Interestingly, one sign says, “lost our lease.”

Modell’s corporate office did not respond to requests for comment.

Jennifer Maisch, a spokeswoman for New Hyde Park-based Kimco Realty Corp., which owns Airport Plaza, said Modell’s has been at 206 Airport Plaza Blvd. since 1999 and the store’s lease was expiring. She declined to say more.

Modell’s occupies 16,000 square feet in Airport Plaza, a 448,302-square-foot shopping center whose other tenants include a Stew Leonard’s grocery store, Bed Bath & Beyond, TJ Maxx and Home Depot, according to Kimco’s website.

It could not immediately be determined how many Modell’s employees will be affected by the store closing in Farmingdale.

Founded in 1889, Modell’s is a private, family-owned company that sells sports apparel, shoes, equipment and accessories online and at about 150 stores in the Northeast. It has 14 stores on Long Island.

The retailer closed its Riverhead store because the space was “too large for their stores of the future,” a real estate agent for the shopping center, Riverhead Centre, told me  last year.

A Modell’s in Reston, Virginia, closed this month because it lost its lease; two stores were shuttered in Parsippany, New Jersey, and in Queens in January; and another closed in Beverly, Massachusetts, in July 2018, according to media reports. 

As the company battled disappointing sales due to online and big-box store competition, Modell’s hired Emeryville, California-based consulting firm Berkeley Research Group, a “restructuring adviser” known for working with companies in bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reported in March.

After vendor fallout over the report, CEO Mitchell Modell and another executive reached out to suppliers to reassure them and regain their confidence, according to a Journal report in April. The retailer ended its relationship with Berkeley and hired a new chief financial officer, David Stern, the newspaper reported.

Time's Up

As for the Catherines store in Carle Place, nine employees, including a manager, will be affected by the closing, said Monica Hinds, assistant store manager. 

Hinds said, “The lease is up and the rent went up,” as the reasons for closing the store, which is at 119 Old Country Rd. The employees will not be transferred to another store, she added.

The only other Catherines on Long Island is 36 miles away —   in Gateway Plaza on West Sunrise Highway in Patchogue.

The Carle Place store is in a shopping center owned by Country Glen LLC, which could not be reached for comment. 

Catherines is owned by Ascena Retail Group Inc., a publicly traded Mahwah, New Jersey, company that did not respond to requests for comment.

But Ascena is steeply cutting its store numbers. In May the company had announced it was closing all of its Dressbarn stores nationwide. 

“This decision was difficult, but necessary, as the Dressbarn chain has not been operating at an acceptable level of profitability in today’s retail environment,” Steven Taylor, chief financial officer of Dressbarn, said in a statement in May.

As of May 4, the end of its third quarter, Ascena had 3,519 stores. That included 731 Lane Bryant stores, 21 fewer than it had a year earlier, and 332 Catherines, 19 fewer than it had the previous year.

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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