Charming Shoppes to close 240 stores

    Bensalem-based Charming Shoppes, Inc. has announced plans to shutter 240 of its stores. That’s 12 percent of the 2,064 stores it owns across the country. The retailer operates the Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, and Catherine’s brands–all brands that cater to plus-size women. Their customer is a middle- to lower-income shopper, the segment hit hardest when the economy fell apart. Barbara Kahn, director of Wharton’s Jay H Baker Retailing Center, said closing the stores could mean good business. “Focus on fewer stores and do the fewer stores better to cater to this segment–to me that makes a lot of sense,” she said. The company will focus more on Lane Bryant–it’s a stronger brand, said Kahn. The others? Not so much. “I couldn’t tell–I was looking on the Internet and I couldn’t get a real clear sense of what that brand meant and if I can’t get it I suspect I’m not alone,” she said. The company has not yet announced which locations it’s planning to close.

     

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