In its fourth-quarter statement released March 6, women’s apparel merchant Chico’s FAS announced plans to close its Fitigues brand in the first quarter of fiscal 2007.
“We are completely focused on our core Chico’s and White House/Black Market brands, as well as our emerging Soma brand,” CEO Scott Edmonds said in a statement. “We have decided the Fitigues brand did not meet our internal expectations and opportunity for rollout. Thus, we think our shareholders are better served by closing down this brand at this time.”
Chico’s had acquired Scottsdale, AZ-based Fitigues in January 2006 for a reported $10 million in cash. Fitigues sells casual clothes for men and children as well as women, in stores, via catalog, and online. Chico’s and White House/Black Market sell casual and dressier apparel exclusively for women.
Stuart Rose, managing director at Wellesley, MA-based investment bank Tully & Holland, agrees with the decision to fold the brand. “It seems as though they bought it prematurely, before they knew what they were going to do with it,” he says. “In general, it’s a small part of their business and probably not worth the distraction. Focusing on their core and larger concepts is probably a good thing.”