2015 In Review: The Retail News of 2015


After 10 years of keeping shop at 6751 Hollywood Blvd., venerable lingerie brand Frederick’s of Hollywood closed its store near the Hollywood & Highland retail center in Los Angeles.

Retailer Wet Seal Inc. began a year of restructuring when it announced on Jan. 7 that it would shutter more than 338 stores and lay off more than 3,000 workers. On Jan. 16, it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

2015 also was a year for restructuring at eBay Inc. After a fight with its biggest shareholder, Carl Icahn, the pioneering e-commerce company agreed to spin off its payments division, PayPal, into a separate, publicly traded company. eBay announced that it would lay off 2,400 of its employees, or 7 percent of its workforce. The company said it was “simplifying organizational structures to focus the businesses and ensure that we are set up to compete and win.”

Gap Inc. announced plans to shutter Piperlime, its online footwear-driven unit.

Sears Holding Corp. announced that it would close its Westfield Topanga location in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. It was part of a wave of closures of 235 Sears locations across the United States. Sears shoppers around Westfield Topanga didn’t have to drive far to find other Sears locations. Close to Westfield Topanga is a Sears in Los Angeles’ Northridge suburb and another in North Hollywood.


Popkiller closed the first shop in its pop-culture retail chain. The first store was located in Hollywood. Popkiller continues to run stores in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district.

Henry T. Segerstrom, developer of South Coast Plaza, in Costa Mesa, Calif., died. He developed the luxury retail market in Orange County. South Coast Plaza claims to be the highest-grossing retail center in the U.S., with annual sales in excess of $1.7 billion.

Abbot Kinney Beach House, a multi-brand shop, opened on the high-profile retail street Abbot Kinney Boulevard.


Nasty Gal opened its second Southern California boutique at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif.

Multi-brand retailer Planet Blue announced plans to open stores across the United States. New locations opened in Atlanta, Honolulu and Dallas. Closer to its Santa Monica headquarters, Planet Blue opened a store at The Point retail center in El Segundo, Calif.

Simon Property Group, one of the biggest mall landlords in America, dropped its bid to acquire Macerich Co., which developed and owns malls such as Santa Monica Place.

Surf label Maui & Sons opened a flagship store in Los Angeles’ Marina del Rey neighborhood.

Internet clothier Revolve, headquartered in Cerritos, Calif., announced that it acquired Alliance Apparel Group for an undisclosed amount. Alliance manufactures lines such as Lovers + Friends.


Fred Segal opened its first international location in Tokyo.

Wet Seal Inc. went private. Versa Capital Management LLC, a private-equity company, completed its acquisition of Wet Seal in April. Since then, the formerly private company has operated under the new name of The Wet Seal LLC.

Pacific Sunwear of California unveiled a unique redesign of its high-profile Third Street Promenade shop in Santa Monica. The store was redesigned without front doors and windows.

Chanel unveiled a redesign of its 10,000-square-foot boutique in South Coast Plaza. The redesign was inspired by the Paris apartment of fashion icon and brand founder Coco Chanel.

Los Angeles–headquartered e-tailer and fashion incubator Streddo took a bow.


Brent Gardner was named senior general manager of the high-profile Glendale Galleria retail center in Glendale, Calif.

WSS, a footwear retailer, unveiled a flagship store in the Young’s Market Company Building in Los Angeles’ Pico Union neighborhood. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Australian swimwear brand Seafolly opened a second U.S. location in La Jolla, Calif.

Graced by Grit, an activewear line, opened its first branded boutique in San Diego.


Gap Inc., one of America’s largest retailers, announced plans to close 175 stores in North America.

Tadashi Shoji, an eveningwear brand, unveiled a high-tech remodel of its boutique at South Coast Plaza.

Walter Mendez opened a luxe, self-named atelier in downtown Los Angeles.

Designer Christy Dawn Petersen opened branded boutique Christy Dawn in Los Angeles’ Venice district.


The Point, a high-end open-air center in El Segundo, Calif., took a bow.

Los Angeles boutique Weltenbuerger, a purveyor of avant-garde European styles, closed after an eight-year run.

Zimmermann, an Australian luxe ready-to-wear and swim brand, opened a boutique in the exclusive Melrose Place boutique neighborhood.

Hemingway and Sons, a contemporary menswear boutique, opened in Los Angeles’ Silver Lake neighborhood.

H&M’s COS division announced the opening of several more U.S. boutiques, including in Los Angeles’ Beverly Center and Costa Mesa, Calif.’s South Coast Plaza.

Pure-play e-tailer ModCloth opened a summer pop-up shop in San Francisco.


Seven Points, a contemporary men’s boutique in downtown Los Angeles’ Fashion District, closed after a two-year run.

Rebecca Minkoff opened a high-tech, flagship boutique in Los Angeles. The retailer hopes to inject the best of the e-commerce experience into the physical boutique. Touch a screen at the front of the boutique and a customer can order drinks or request store staff prepare a dressing room.


Nike Inc. opened a 31,000-square-foot flagship at The Grove retail center in Los Angeles.

Quiksilver Inc., headquartered in Huntington Beach, Calif., announced it would shutter more than 30 locations after the surf giant declared bankruptcy.

Salvatore Ferragamo unveiled a remodel of its Rodeo Drive boutique. The flagship features displays of the fashion house’s long history.

The Village at Westfield Topanga took a bow. The $350 million project, adjacent to the Westfield Topanga retail center, is an open-air space. The Village is the address of independent boutique chains such as Varga, M.Fredric and JET John Eshaya.


Nordstrom Inc. opened a full-line store at Del Amo Fashion Center. It is part of a giant remodel of the mall, which has the distinction of being the largest mall in the Western U.S. Simon Property Group reportedly spent $200 million remodeling Del Amo. A total of 100 new retailers joined the mall, including Kate Spade, Hugo Boss and Brooks Bros.

Pure-play Internet brand Buck Mason opened a branded boutique on Los Angeles’ high-profile Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

Simon Property Group–owned mall Stanford Shopping Center announced 25 retailers would move into a new section of the Palo Alto, Calif., mall. The new section is called The Plaza. The open-air center will feature a lawn, gardens and a large outdoor fireplace.

Ground-breaking for AT Mateo began. The more than $80 million project in downtown Los Angeles’ Arts district will feature boutiques, restaurants and creative offices.

Opponents of a Caruso Affiliated retail center in the beachside city of Carlsbad, Calif., collected enough signatures to put the project up for a vote. The vote on whether to approve zoning changes on Carlsbad’s Aqua Hedionda Lagoon has been scheduled for a special election on Feb. 23, 2016.


Macy’s Inc. reopened its department store at The Bloc in downtown Los Angeles. The new look of the store features a four-floor, 250,000-square-foot selling space. Also in November, Macy’s unveiled an additional 57,000 square feet to its store in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Brentwood Associates, a Los Angeles–based private equity firm, acquired J. McLaughlin, a specialty-store chain with 103 stores, mostly located on the East Coast.

Zara’s Massimo Dutti division opened its first U.S. store. It is located in South Coast Plaza.

Forever 21 announced that it will close a 120,000-square-foot store in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in January.

The RVCA brand held a grand-opening party for its new boutique in Santa Monica, Calif.


After a 15-year-run, high-profile retailer Kitson announced that it is shuttering its 17 stores and its e-commerce boutique ( closure of the entire chain represented an unexpected development for Kitson. This summer, it received an investment, reportedly to avoid bankruptcy, from Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc.