Dressbarn

Dressbarn has announced plans to close all 650 of its stores but has not announced a timeline for closures. Waco’s Dressbarn in Central Texas Marketplace remains open.

Fashion retailer Dressbarn will close its 650 stores nationwide, including Waco’s in Central Texas Marketplace, though it has not released a timetable for shuttering the shops, a company spokesman said.

Dressbarn operates an 8,000-square-foot location between Old Navy and Rack Room Shoes in Central Texas Marketplace. It was among the first stores doing business when the center opened in 2004.

Local Dressbarn staffers referred all comment to corporate headquarters. About a dozen shoppers were browsing inside the store at about noon Wednesday. Signs throughout the sales floor declared discounts.

A shocked look spread across Sandy Londenberg’s face when informed Dressbarn locations everywhere would go dark. The 54-year-old Groesbeck resident said she travels the 40 miles to Waco at least once a month, and Dressbarn has become a regular stop. She likes its selection.

“I buy jeans and whatever I’m in the mood to get,” Londenberg said.

Online and in-store sales will continue, Dressbarn credit cards remain valid, and the store’s return, refund and gift card policies have not changed, according to a Dressbarn press release.

“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,” Dressbarn CFO Steven Taylor wrote in the press release. “During the wind down process, we will continue to provide our customers with the same great experience both in-store and online, offering them even better deals and value.”

The company was founded in 1962 and has 6,800 employees nationwide. It did not announce plans for liquidation sales when stores will start to close. Employees “will be notified when decisions are made about specific store closures and provided with transition support,” the press release states.

New Jersey-based Ascena Retail Group owns Dressbarn. Its other brands include Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, Cacique, Justice, Catherines and Lou & Grey. It recently sold its Maurices brand in a $300 million deal.

Local commercial real estate agent Pat Farrar said closing 650 stores at once is surprising, “but nothing in retail today is shocking.”

“Big-box retailing has become a different world,” Farrar said.

Central Texas Marketplace, with nearly 80 stores in a highly visible location in a growing area, continues to evolve. James Avery Artisan Jewelry recently relocated within the mall to larger space. A new strip anchored by La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe has attracted Kindler’s Gem Jewelers and Ideal MRI, and finish-out work continues for Hand & Stone Massage & Facial Spa, where a sign says “coming soon.”

Next to 3 Spoons Yogurt, remodeling continues for Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids.

The former Beauty Brands building has hit the market after the Kansas City-based chain’s bankruptcy filing in January. The Dallas office of SRS Real Estate is marketing the freestanding space.

“We just got the signs up but have received interest in a short time,” SRS agent Ryan Johnson said.

Smaller lease units near the Bagby Avenue entrance to Central Texas Marketplace are not being ignored, Waco real estate agent Gregg Glime said. He is listing units with veteran commercial agent Bland Cromwell.

Smallcakes Cupcakery and Creamery, an exercise center called Cyclebar and the Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest Marketplace Clinic operate there.

Glime said he has deals pending with two health-related tenants, a general retailer and a food-related user, each taking up to 2,000 square feet.

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