The Retail News of 2016


As of Thursday, December 22, 2016


The National Retail Federation trade group announced that it missed its forecast for the 2015 holiday season. Sales increased 3 percent to $626.1 billion in a year-over-year comparison with the 2014 holiday season. NRF forecast that sales for the 2015 holiday retail season would climb 3.7 percent.

January saw a slate of store openings. Mark Zunino Couture, a red carpet and bridal fashion house, held a grand-opening debut at its large atelier on Los Angeles’ Robertson Boulevard. Los Angeles’ high-end denim and motorcycle lifestyle brand Robin’s Jean opened in the Beverly Center. It was the company’s eighth boutique. Sacramento, Calif.–headwear brand Official Crown of Laurel opened a boutique on Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue.

An era came to a close when Diane Merrick announced she was shuttering her self-named boutique after 45 years in business in Los Angeles. The Diane Merrick boutique was considered a place to start a career for a generation or so of Los Angeles boutique retailers. But there was no saying farewell to Diane Merrick. After the Prospr boutique took over her former space on Los Angeles’ Beverly Boulevard later in the year, Merrick opened a shop-in-shop at the new boutique.


Manny Mashouf, founder of Bebe Stores Inc., took back the reins of his struggling San Francisco Bay area retailer after stepping down as chief executive officer in 2013. He also announced a 14.6 percent job cut in the company’s design, merchandising and production division.

In a rare setback for high-end retail-center developer Caruso, voters in the beachside town of Carlsbad, Calif., voted to reject plans to build a Caruso mall on the city’s Aqua Hedionda Lagoon. In a special election, 51.99 percent of Carlsbad voters voted to reject the plan and 48.01 percent approved it.


Los Angeles’ Beverly Center announced a $500 million renovation. The Taubman-owned center will bring in a food hall produced by celebrity chef Michael Mina as well as more sunlight. The renovation will feature a “ribbon” of skylights, which will bring more natural light into the enclosed mall. The remodel also will include a new exterior, which includes a perforated steel façade.

At the Style Fashion Week show for the Hale Bob label, Daniel Bohbot, the label’s founder and owner, announced that his label would get into the direct-to-consumer game. Consumers would be able to purchase Hale Bob’s runway clothes at its website ( after the runway show.


Planet Blue, headquartered in Santa Monica, Calif., opened its 12th boutique in April, this time in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.

Los Angeles’ Daniel Patrick label opened a boutique on the city’s Melrose Avenue. He later collaborated on a capsule collection with hip-hop star Tyga, who is the significant other of Kylie Jenner, and members and friends of the Kardashian Jenner clan were spotted wearing Daniel Patrick.

Sonia Syngal was named president of Gap Inc.’s Old Navy division.

After 57 years in business, Sport Chalet announced it was going out of business. The La Cañada Flintridge, Calif.–headquartered regional chain ran more than 50 stores at its zenith.


More than five months after the Kitson boutique chain closed, its founder, Fraser Ross, dove back into the retail game. He openedKitross in the space of the former Kitson flagship store on Los Angeles’ Robertson Boulevard.

WithMe, a new concept store, opened at the Santa Monica Place retail center in Santa Monica, Calif. WithMe offers limited runs of merchandise from new brands and those sold online only. The store’s futuristic architecture was designed by award-winning Venice, Calif.–based architect Giorgio Borruso.


Bebe announced a joint venture with Bluestar Alliance LLC. The partnership pursued licensing agreements domestically and internationally.


The Shop: Curve X Tom Dixon took a bow at the new retail center Platform in Culver City, Calif. The sprawling 7,000-square-foot space makes roommates of Tom Dixon, a British lighting and industrial design star, with Curve, the high-end, designer boutique chain. The Runyon Group had announced that it was going to develop Platform a couple of years earlier, but the center blossomed in 2016. Located across the street from a Metro light-rail station, it is the address to high-end, independent boutiques and restaurants.

Jimmy Au’s for Men 5'8" and Under is one of the few stores that devotes its business to clothes for shorter men. After a decade in Beverly Hills, Calif., the business moved to Los Angeles’ Sherman Oaks neighborhood.


Macy’s Inc., long one of America’s prominent department-store chains, announced that it will close 100 stores. The move will help Macy’s focus its strength in its best-performing stores, according to a company statement.

The Apolis brand has been a pioneer in Los Angeles’ Arts District, where it opened one of the first high-end boutiques in 2011. In August, Apolis opened its first New York City boutique in Manhattan’s SoHo district.

A fire destroyed Gap Inc’s distribution center in Fishkill, N.Y. No one was hurt in the blaze, but the retail giant blamed the fire for sales declines in September and October.


High-end basics and lifestyle brand Cotton Citizen opened its first boutique. It is located on Melrose Place in West Hollywood, Calif.

QVC Inc., which pioneered retail on television, unveiled its first West Coast distribution center in Ontario, Calif.

Pacific Sunwear of California was acquired by Golden Gate Capital, and the acquisition allowed PacSun to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Anaheim, Calif.–based retailer also emerged as a private company.

Hatchet Outdoor Supply Co. opened a camping lifestyle boutique in Los Angeles’ urban Arts District.


After a four-year hiatus, fashion star Donna Karan reopened her Urban Zen concept in the Los Angeles area. The new location is in West Hollywood, Calif.

The NRF forecasts 2016 holiday sales to climb 3.6 percent in a year-over-year comparison to holiday 2015.

Runyon Group announced that it will provide leasing services for Row DTLA, a new enclave for high-end, independent boutiques near Los Angeles’ Arts District.

Lido Marina Village took an official bow in Newport Beach, Calif. DJM Capital Partners developed the district of shops in a waterside section of the wealthy city. Prominent Los Angeles boutique Elyse Walker opened its first shop of Los Angeles in the Lido Marina Village. The Bailey 44 brand also opened its first retail shop at the new retail district.

The Heidi Merrick brand opened a boutique in Los Angeles’ Fashion District.


Bloomingdale’s unveiled an extensive remodel at its Westfield Century City location in Los Angeles. Westfield Century City is currently undergoing a $955 million revamp of the high-end retail center. The new look is scheduled to officially bow in Fall 2017. Look out for a new Nordstrom and a remodeled Macy’s at the retail center.

The much-talked-about rise of retailer Nasty Gal made its founder, Sophia Amoruso, a star and a wealthy woman. But the Los Angeles–headquartered retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Canadian retailer Aritzia opened its first Los Angeles shop in the former space of Fred Segal Luggage in Los Angeles. In 2017, it is scheduled to open a flagship at Westfield Century City.

On Black Friday and the Thanksgiving weekend, the traditional start of the holiday retail season, 154 million people shopped for gifts, but average spending per person dipped to $289.19 compared to $299.60 over the 2015 Black Friday weekend, according to the NRF. The trade group said that spending declined due to retailers’ heavy discounts.

Los Angeles–based athleisure e-tailer Carbon38 opened its first West Coast pop-up shop on Robertson Boulevard.


A new Fred Segal compound was announced. It is scheduled to open in West Hollywood in Fall 2017.