The Limited is the latest women's fashion retailer expected to file for bankruptcy and close its stores, including three in the Tampa Bay area.
Employees at the Limited stores in WestShore Plaza, Westfield Brandon and the Tampa Premium Outlets said the stores will likely close in the next week. The local stores have been selling off merchandise at highly discounted rates in recent weeks to purge what's left of their inventory.
The brand is expected to begin to liquidate its stores soon. Two stores in Orlando-area malls closed before Christmas.
The retailer is owned by a private equity firm, Sun Capital Partners, which purchased the brand in 2007.
The Limited's inventory is for sale at up to 75 percent off in stores and up to 50 percent off online. The website says "all sales are final and no returns or exchanges will be honored on purchases."
The Limited has yet to file for bankruptcy, but it's clear that the company has struggled financially for some time. Other women's fashion retailers, often found in malls across the country, have suffered in recent years. Caché, a familiar stop for prom dresses in malls such as Tyrone Square and the Westfield malls in Countryside, Citrus Park and Brandon, shuttered stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Wet Seal, a discount clothier and a former staple in family-centric malls around the country, filed for bankruptcy last year and closed stores in WestShore Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park.
These established brands have a hard time competing with up-and-coming "fast fashion" stores, like H&M and Forever 21, which offer apparel at low prices and can update inventory more quickly with emerging trends.
The Limited is known for its private-label apparel. The company had around 250 stores nationwide as of last year, including two full-line stores and an outlet store in Tampa Bay.
Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.