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Prominent teen retailers to close in Steeplegate Mall this month

Three teenage girls dropped their Aéropostale bags to the ground and sat at the Steeplegate Mall food court with pretzels and smoothies.

Their table was right across from the Aéropostale window and a large red sign advertising 70 percent off everything: “This location closing.”

The clothing store will close its doors Jan. 31, days after the Abercrombie & Fitch location in the Concord mall closes Jan. 25.

Maddy Simpson, 14, stopped by the closing sale with 14-year-old Amaya Harper and 15-year-old Jade Rossi. The girls said they don’t normally shop at either store because their prices are too steep.

“I shopped at Aéropostale a lot because it was cheaper,” Simpson said.

But without the two popular retailers, the girls have even fewer choices when they shop at Steeplegate.

“This mall?” Simpson said. “There’s not much in this mall.”

In a statement yesterday, Rouse Properties, the mall’s owner, declined to comment on why the stores were closing or when new retailers would move into those locations.

“While we cannot confirm any specific closures at this time, as with any mall location, we do experience periodic instances of tenant turnover, but we have a strong track record of finding new retailers to fill vacated space,” the statement read. “We look forward to maintaining a vibrant atmosphere that caters to the needs of the community.”

Requests for comment from both retailers were unreturned.

In November, Abercrombie & Fitch announced poor third-quarter sales, saying net sales had dropped 12 percent from the previous year. The retailer also closed all of its freestanding Gilly Hicks stores, which sold the company’s lingerie and lounge wear lines.

“Our results for the third quarter reflect continued top-line challenges, with overall spending among young customers remaining weak,” said Mike Jeffries, CEO and chairman of the Abercrombie & Fitch Co. board.

Aéropostale also reported a slow third quarter in 2013, when net sales plummeted 15 percent from the previous year, according to a press release.

When that data was released, CEO Thomas Johnson said the company had been transforming its brand during that quarter.

“However, we were disappointed in our overall performance as customer adoption is occurring more slowly than we would like against the backdrop of a challenging teen retail environment,” he said in his statement.

Alexis Dowd, 19, and her 16-year-old sister Mikaela spent their shopping trip in American Eagle, a similar clothing store where the older girl works and receives an employee discount.

But the sisters agreed these retailers were too expensive for most young shoppers to be regular buyers.

“I think with my age group now, college kids go for stuff that’s nice but cheap,” Alexis Dowd said.

Cell phone in hand, she shrugged. Both of those stores have locations in other area shopping centers.

“Now we have the Manchester (Mall of New Hampshire) and the Merrimack Outlets,” she said.

(Megan Doyle can be reached at 369-3321 or mdoyle@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @megan_e_doyle.)

Legacy Comments2

The developers made their money off this ill-begotten mall. Now the rest of us are left with an eyesore of empty buildings and land destroyed. Heck of a job, Brownie.

This closure and others in malls are a sign of our economic times. Obama has had five long years to improve our economy and he has failed. His policies have hurt the overall economy and his focus has never been on jobs or the economy, only ideology. So long as progressives continue to drive class warfare and push division over dealing with the overall economy of this country, more retailers will close. To your point about the mall, well, there is not the volume to support a real mall in this area.

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