It's lights out at Limited Too, as Tween Brands switches its store marquees by year's end to the less expensive — but every bit as trendy — Justice (Just for Girls) brand for the preteen set.
"This makes us more relevant to changing economic times," said Michael Raydan, chief executive of Tween Brands Inc., which caters to 7- to 14-year-old girls with candy, bedroom gear, games, apparel and Webkinz. "In spots where we have both, moms walk past Limited Too because it's seen as a premium brand."
Sales in Justice stores open more than a year were up 3 percent in the most recent quarter while Limited Too's were down 11 percent.
The 560 Limited Too stores found mostly in malls will morph into Justice, Tween Brands' 310-store growth vehicle launched a few years ago for smaller, nonmall locations. Except for online and the back of 175 top-volume stores, Limited Too products will be phased out.
Locally, there are Limited Too stores in five malls and three Justice stores in shopping centers.
The average Limited Too customer ages out after 2.5 years shopping there. So Raydan doesn't think the disappearance of Limited Too after 20 years will matter to future regulars.
"In three years our customers will never have heard of Limited Too," said Raydan, who confirmed a plan to add boys clothes to Justice eventually.
Wall Street didn't think much of the changes or Tween Brands' reported $6.7-million loss, or 27 cents a share, which compared with net income of $2.1-million, or 7 cents a share, during the same period last year. The stock price closed at $8.01, down $6.87.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.