The North Face plans to shutter eight stores in 2003

The North Face announced it's closing seven of its outlet stores and its Costa Mesa, Calif., storefront in 2003.

The North Face announced it's closing seven of its outlet stores and its Costa Mesa, Calif., storefront in 2003. The company is attributing the downsizing to improved supply chain management that has lowered levels of distressed inventory.

"In the past, the outlet store business has been an important part of our business model, but as our inventory management capabilities have improved, we are no longer generating the amounts of excess inventory necessary to keep these locations open," said Sandy Wait, vice president of retail for The North Face.

The outlet stores being closed are: Bend, Ore.; Dawsonville, Ga.; Wrentham, Mass.; Desert Hills, Calif.; Quebec, Canada; San Francisco; and Birch Run, Mich. The company said it doesn't plan to close its remaining outlets -- Berkeley, Calif.; Freeport, Maine; and Woodbury, N.Y. -- because of their profitability and the need to manage excess inventory. By the end of 2003, 13 outlets will have closed since VF Corp.'s acquisition of The North Face in June 2000.

The Costa Mesa storefront will close when its lease expires in early 2003. Wait said, "We continue to look for street-front locations in major metropolitan areas to support the rollout of our new store concept. Unfortunately, the size and location of the Costa Mesa store does not fit this model."



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