One large clothing retailer has shut its doors just as another cuts the welcome ribbon at the Burbank Town Center.
Loehmann's department store at Burbank Boulevard and San Fernando Road abruptly shut its doors Nov. 8, days before the New York-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. On Nov. 19, Burlington Coat Factory opened at Third Street and Magnolia Boulevard, the former Mervyns site.
A spokeswoman for Loehmann's said that the Burbank outpost of the discount fashion chain was "underperforming," and that the chain was focusing its efforts on busier stores, including those in Beverly Hills and Pasadena.
A sign on the window of the empty Burbank store states that other locations will honor Loehmann's gift certificates and other transactions. Spokeswoman Amy Rosenberg could not confirm how many employees worked in Burbank or how many were given opportunities to work at nearby Loehmann's stores.
In the days before the bankruptcy filing, the company closed 13 stores around the country, leaving roughly 50. It plans to close two other stores as soon as the inventory is depleted, Rosenberg said.
Loehmann's officials announced the company had "pre-negotiated" a bankruptcy workout plan with its major secured investor and Istithmar World, which is part of the troubled international finance firm Dubai World. Three companies — Istithmar World, Whippoorwill Associates Inc. and Crystal Financial — have agreed to invest a total of $70 million once the company emerges from bankruptcy.
The company estimates it will reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2011.
Meanwhile, Burlington Coat Factory is looking to expand its presence in Southern California beyond Burbank. It acquired several sites of the failed Mervyns chain, and Burlington regional vice president Tom Kelly said it hopes to roughly double the 48 stores it has in California.