Dots clothing stores going out of business

By Tom McParland

Going-out-of-business sales are underway today at Dots clothing stores, after the embattled women’s fashion retailer agreed to shutter the company’s 360 stores in the coming weeks.

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey on Thursday placed the retail division of Boston-based Gordon Brothers Group in charge of the store-closing process, according to a statement circulated by the firm.

The global advisory, restructuring and investment firm, which does $50 billion in annual transactions and appraisals, said Dots inventory will be on sale, with discounts starting at 20 percent.

“Our employees continue to do a tremendous job maintaining high-quality standards, and they are dedicated to fully serving our customers during this transition,” David Minnix, Dots president, said in a prepared statement. “We appreciate the continued support of our valued customers over the years and hope they take advantage of the significant savings during these sales events.”

The store’s official website was offline Friday.

It displayed only a message saying the site was temporarily under construction.

Founded in 1987 by Bob Glick, the Ohio-based discount retailer sold fashion and accessories primarily to women between age 25 and 30 at about 360 stores in 28 states.

The original owner sold the company in 2011 to the private-equity firm Irving Place Capital.

Dots LLC has struggled recently to keep up with online and brick-and-mortar retailers, and store traffic took a hit with the economic downturn. After unsuccessful attempts to adjust the store’s prices and marketing strategies, Dots filed for Chapter 11 protection Jan. 20.

According to the release, all store merchandise — including furniture, fixtures and equipment — would go on sale, and all “store locations would remain open until all merchandise has been sold.”

At the Dots store on Doral Drive in Boardman, employees learned from Irving Place Capital on Thursday that the store was going out of business. The store has been open for 23 years, but it had relocated about a year and a half ago from a spot in Boardman Plaza.

Anissa Knapik, store manager, said employees knew the company had gone to auction, but they were hoping to be bought out so the store could keep operating.

Instead, Knapik said, employees began preparing Friday for store-closing sales, which could last through May.

A Dots store also is in the Austintown Plaza.

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