Petite Sophisticate Is Back
A surprise for me, Retail Brand Alliance didn't just send Petite Sophisticate to the chop shop last January. According to the Chicago Sun-Times here, Charming Shoppes, owner of Lane Bryant stores, bought the brand instead and is going to be opening 43 Petite Sophisticate Outlet stores this Friday, September 29th. (They have a nice placeholder at their website for the new line, but no information is available there yet!)
The stores will carry career and casual clothing in sizes 0 to 14. Prior to the closing of the stores under RBA (which currently owns Brooks Brothers), half of the customers were shopping for career apparel. "We are looking at a broader strategy," Gayle Coolick, director of investor relations at Charming Shoppes, said Monday. "[Petite Sophisticate] is a fabulous brand name with lots of loyal customers. We'd like to look at expansion."
I hate to say it, but I hope the brand is ready to fight to regain its turf with more fashion foward offerings. The clothing sold by the old Petite Sophisticate was...fuddy duddy, but servicable. Let's face it - it's not like there's a lot of choice out there, and a girl's gotta find professional clothing that fits, even if it's not exactly stylish. Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, and other stores have definitely stepped it up to fill in the petite gap, despite moves by department stores to the contrary.
Unfortunately, since I'm car free and far from any outlet malls, I won't be able to visit the new locations to check them out myself. Definitely give me an update if you manage to stop by on Friday!