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Aerosoles, the Latest Retail Apocalypse Casualty

The frumpy-cute shoe company just declared bankruptcy.

Photo: Sharan Chow Design/Flickr/Creative Commons

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Another day, another retail bankruptcy — the bad news this time coming from Aerosoles.

The shoe company filed for Chapter 11 in a Delaware bankruptcy court today, with plans to restructure over the next four months. That means “significant” store closures as it turns to focus on e-commerce.

Aerosoles hopes to clear Chapter 11 by the end of 2017. The company is already putting deep discounts on merchandise; as of yesterday, everything at the brand’s New York City location in Herald Square is 40 to 70 percent off. (So now might be a good time to stock up if you live near a store!)

Aerosoles joins quite the pile-up of retail bankruptcies this year. In January, The Limited closed all its US stores and filed for bankruptcy shortly after; the same month, BCBG announced it was closing a ton of stores (as did Wet Seal), and it filed for bankruptcy in March. Some companies, like Steve Madden, have been able to weather the storm of shoppers shifting to digital and turning to fast fashion. Many others, though, are still struggling, if not through bankruptcy then through store closures, acquisitions, and layoffs — American Apparel, Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, and J.Crew are just a few examples. The department store landscape isn’t looking any better.

Known for its comfy (albeit slightly frumpy) designs, Aerosoles has about 80 stores in the US and more than 300 around the globe. While it’s been a retail staple since its inception 30 years ago, the brand has also been struggling.

“Declining mall traffic, a highly promotional and competitive retail environment, and a shift in customer demand and preference for online shopping versus the traditional brick and mortar environment” were some reasons chief restructuring officer Mark Weinstein blamed for Aerosoles’ troubles.

Perhaps more notably, Weinstein also said that the company had been profitable for the last three decades, further signaling that we are, indeed, smack in the middle of a retail apocalypse. Who’s next?

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Posted by Racked on Tuesday, May 23, 2017