ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Operators of women's clothing retailer Northern Reflections are closing all U.S. locations including five Alaska stores. The move covers closure of the Northern Group stores including a line of men's clothing locations for a total of 323 U.S. stores.
The stores should be closed by July, said Peter Brown, vice president of investor relations and corporate development for the stores' owner, Venator Group.
''They are unprofitable,'' he said. ''The stores are much more profitable in Canada than in the U.S.''
Venator Group operates 370 Northern Group stores in Canada, and the company aims to improve the division's financial health before selling the stores, Brown said.
''We are in the process of marketing the Canadian company for sale,'' he said.
The Northern Group employs 700 full-time and 2,300 part-time workers, he said.
Four Alaska Northern Reflections are in Anchorage at the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall, Dimond Center, the Mall at Sears and at Northway Mall. A fifth store is in the Bentley Mall in Fairbanks.
The Venator Group also operates seven Foot Locker stores in Alaska -- four Anchorage Foot Locker stores, located in the same malls as the Northern Reflections stores plus one each in Fairbanks, Juneau and Wasilla. Venator also has three Lady Foot Locker stores in Anchorage at the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall, Dimond Center and the Northway Mall.
The New York City-based company is looking to concentrate on its athletic division. According to its 1999 annual report Venator Group had 17 percent of the $14 billion U.S. athletic footwear market.
In 1997 Venator Group closed F.W. Woolworth stores and later closed Kinney Shoes including several locations in Alaska.
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