1. Archive

Shrinking sales force closing of Holiday Luria's

Published Oct. 1, 2005

Luria's, squeezed by competition and shrinking sales, has closed its Holiday store as part of a corporate-wide downsizing, a company official said Monday.

In the last two weeks, the Miami-based jewelry and general merchandise retailer has closed 17 stores, including ones in Holiday, Tarpon Springs and Brandon. The stores closed after liquidation sales.

"It's corporate restructuring," said Ilia Lekach, spokesman for L. Luria & Son Inc. "We made a decision, in order to improve the efficiencies of the company, to close the 17 stores."

Lekach said Luria's had little choice but to close 17 of its 45 stores, all of them in Florida. The 50,100-square-foot Luria's at the corner of U.S. 19 and Moog Road closed two weeks ago. The Luria's in Clearwater remains open.

Lekach said he did not know how many workers were laid off at the Holiday store, but said Luria's stores typically employ about 30.

"The company has lost a lot of money in the last two years and now we're attempting to take it back to profitability," he said.

He said the company had sustained "major losses" in the last two years, declining to cite figures.

He attributed the business decline to several factors. Among them, growing competition from other retailers such as Target and Service Merchandise.

Some Luria's, including the one in Holiday, also lost business after Luria's switched a few years ago from being a "catalog showroom" that distributed monthly fliers to its customers, to a general merchandise store.

As part of its restructuring, Luria's has sold its warehouse in Miami and revamped product lines to put more emphasis on jewelry, kitchen items, crystal and table tops, and home decorations.

"Luria's is now a gift store," Lekach said. "Before, it was more of everything."

In 1898 Lazar Luria and his son, Philip, founded L. Luria & Son Inc. as a general wholesale merchandiser in the lower east side of New York City.

During the 1920s through the 1950s, the family-run business expanded nationwide.

In 1961 Leonard Luria, the great grandson of Lazar Luria, moved his family to South Florida and within a few years converted the Miami store from a wholesaler to a catalog showroom retailer.

Luria's focused its business in Florida. In 1985, it was named Florida's Company of the Year. The Luria family sold ownership in the business last August.