Fashion Bug to go out of business


Fashion Bug, located at 176 Cherry Street in University Plaza, is currently having liquidation and blowout sales after Fashion Bug’s new owner, Ascena Retail Group, Inc., announced on June 15 that they would be closing down all Fashion Bug stores. No final closing date has been announced yet, but it’s expected that most Fashion Bugs will stay open until the end of the year.. Photo by Matt Hafley.

Angel Mack

Brimfield resident Bobbi Papiska likes to shop at Fashion Bug in University Plaza. While there Tuesday afternoon, she expressed interest in the store’s jewelry line and admired a few tops but admitted she didn’t shop there all the time.

Papiska said Fashion Bug, which sells misses’ and women’s plus-sized apparel, was convenient for her because she works nearby, and it saves her a trip to the mall.

“It’s nice to have something close,” she said.

Papiska was disappointed when she visited the store Tuesday. Red and yellow signs with the words “Everything must go” were hung up around the store.

The chain is owned by Charming Shoppes, Inc., which recently merged with Ascena Retail Group, Inc. The company announced in a press release June 15 that they would be closing all Fashion Bug locations.

There is no final closing date for the store, but many locations will be operating through the end of this year, said Gayle Coolick, vice president of Charming Shoppes, Inc., in an email.

Until the store closes, Fashion Bug is having a total inventory blow out sale. To help clear out the store’s product, everything in the store is up to 50 percent off.

The loss of a business will be an inconvenience for shoppers.

“There’s nothing around Atwater,” Angie Graham said while shopping Tuesday. Graham works in Brimfield, so the Kent location is convenient for her. She also showed concern for the employees.

“The ladies are all so nice here,” she said. “I hate to see that.”

There are nine sales associates employed at the Kent Fashion Bug and Coolick said two of them are college students. She said associates were invited to apply to transfer to nearby sister stores, such as Lane Bryant at Chapel Hill Mall or Maurice’s at Summit Mall.

Associates were not available to comment on whether they had yet applied for other jobs.

Fashion Bug’s closing also affects surrounding stores. Fewer customers in the plaza could mean fewer customers for shops like Heavenly Cupcakes.

“We just have to hope another store comes along,” said Heavenly Cupcakes co-owner Carol Ford.

According to the press release, Charming Shoppes had closed 124 Fashion Bug locations in 2011. This year, they will be closing about 600 stores, according to the company’s corporate site. Fashion Bug has been in Kent for almost 25 years.

Contact Angel Mack at [email protected].