Am I Next? Avenue Stores shuttering all retail locations.

Rochelle Park, New Jersey-based Avenue Stores, a women's clothing retailer that specialized in fashion for plus-sizes was unable to attract additional financing and has decided to shutter all of their 260 retail stores in 33 states, leaving hundreds of employees without jobs. In a filing with the State of New Jersey, the company indicated it will be laying off 152 employees at its Rochelle Park location effective September 30, 2019.

All of the store’s merchandise, including store fixtures, will be sold by liquidation specialists.

Avenue is owned by a private equity firm, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Versa Capital Management who acquired the company in a 2002 bankruptcy sale. Versa attempted a financial restructuring in April, 2019 which included a capital infusion from Versa and a revolving line of credit from PNC Bank. At that time, a press release touted, “By increasing overall liquidity, reducing interest rates, and removing all debt amortization payments, AVENUE’s new capital structure is much more stable, flexible and better aligned with the strategic needs of the business. In addition, its new capital structure will further strengthen the Company’s ability to continue investing and providing customers with the fashion and service they deserve.”

On August 1, 2019, an article in the New York Post claimed that “Plus size retailer Avenue has 60 days to find a buyer — or it will shutter all of its 260 stores across the country.”

Avenue is not the only plus-size retailer to encounter problems in a difficult market, made more difficult by online retailers and self-cannibalization. Dressbarn’s May, 2019 announcement indicated that it would be closing their entire plus-size 650-store chain by the end of 2019 and laying a thousand-plus of employees due to declining sales.

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?