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Retail roundup: Anchor Blue shuts down, retail sales rise, Target to open in Canada and first Athleta store

January 15, 2011 |  6:00 am

-- Anchor Blue filed for bankruptcy again, and this time it's for good. The teen clothing chain announced this week that it was closing all 117 stores, most of them in California. The Corona company is holding a going-out-of-business sale, with markdowns of 40% to 60%.

-- Retail sales rose for the sixth month in a row in December, lifting sales for the year by the largest amount in more than a decade, according to the Commerce Department.

-- Target is moving into Canada beginning in 2013. The discounter announced that it had agreed to pay $1.825 billion (in Canadian dollars) to purchase the leasehold interests in up to 220 sites currently operated by Zellers.

"This transaction provides an outstanding opportunity for us to extend our Target brand, Target stores and superior shopping experience beyond the United States for the first time in our company's history," said Gregg Steinhafel, chairman and chief executive of Target Corp.

The Minneapolis company said it expected to open 100 to 150 Target stores throughout Canada in 2013 and 2014.

-- Brick-and-mortar retailers often launch new websites, but Gap Inc. has done the opposite. The apparel company opened its first Athleta store in San Francisco this week. Previously, Athleta -- a brand focused on women's athletic apparel, footwear and accessories -- was available only online and by catalog.

San Francisco-based Gap said the move was made as part of the company's ongoing multi-channel strategy and also because customers had been asking for "a place to touch and feel the product," said Kelly Cooper, vice president of merchandising, design and product for Athleta.

-- Andrea Chang