Thursday, April 27, 2017

Kit & Ace Goes Bust, Closes All Stores Outside of Canada

Upstart rethinks retail strategy.

Kit & Ace, the luxury retailer launched in 2014 by Shannon Wilson, wife of lululemon athletica founder Chip Wilson, and their son J.J. Wilson, announced yesterday it has closed all U.S. stores as it focuses on the Canadian market and e-commerce.    

The Wilsons described Kit & Ace as "athleisure," offering  "technical luxury."  Kit & Ace tried to take market share from lululemon, as well as brands like James Perse and VINCE. The problem was that many consumers balked at the prices at Kit & Ace where simple t-shirts could run nearly $90.  

“We recognize the traditional world of bricks and mortar retailing is changing, which is why we’re shifting strategies,” Wilson said in a statement. “We believe in the business model for Kit and Ace. Going forward, we will be a stronger company."

The brand had been on my private DeathWatch for months with many in the industry doubting the brand would last much longer.  In a previous drafted post, I counted 33 U.S. stores, all of which have now closed.  The company also shuttered stores in the U.K. and Australia.  

Kit & Ace closed their "pop-up" shop at Ponce City Market last April ahead of their store opening at The Shops Buckhead Atlanta in May.  

Sources say the store never opened today and that there was no clearance sale.

"From the start, Kit and Ace has been about innovation. As the retail landscape changes, we’re changing the way we transform your wardrobe. 

Kit and Ace will be closing its showrooms in the United States, the UK and Australia. Our Canadian showrooms will remain open. 

To our global guests: stay in touch. You can still shop our entire collection and buy the clothes you love at kitandace.com"

Are you surprised Kit & Ace has closed?  Did you ever buy anything from Kit & Ace?  What would you like to see open in their now vacant space in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below.  

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