New York's Chinese department store, Pearl River Mart, plans to close its doors by the end of the year. The Soho staple for 44 years has served as an inspiration for designers and fashionistas, while also attracting celebrity clientele.
The husband-and-wife co-founders, Ming Yi Chen and President Ching Yeh Chen, cited rising rent costs and the competition from online retailers as the reason for letting the lease lapse in December. The store employs 40 full-time staff.
The company was founded in 1971 by a group of Chinese student activists to promote cultural exchange between the United States and China. At first a small shop in Chinatown, the store eventually expanded and relocated before settling into its Soho location in 2003.
"My journey with Pearl River has been a long and rewarding one," Ming Yi Chen said. "When we first opened our doors, my colleagues and I simply wanted to create a small window into the Chinese culture. The recognition we've received over these four and a half decades has been a wonderful validation of our original vision. If we did our job right, Pearl River will continue to live on in the hearts and memories of our customers."
Pearl River is looking for ways to continue with their e-commerce division. Online sales have become important contributors to the growth of major department stores in the past few years. So much so that Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN), for example, has announced a five-step plan to spend $1.2 billion this year, primarily on e-commerce, up from $750 million in 2014.
-See this Pearl River Mart press release
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