Eddie Bauer Inc., the Redmond, Wash.-based clothing chain, plans to reopen a retail store in River Park Square here after closing an outlet there more than a year ago.
Its not clear when the store will open, its exact location, or how many people it will employ.
We are currently working in a space with a plan to open, says Eddie Bauer spokeswoman Lisa Erickson. I cant confirm an opening date or any lease details about the store.
Erickson says Eddie Bauer is seeking to hire employees for its River Park Square store, but declines to say how many people would work there. Erickson says that a typical Eddie Bauer store has about 20 employees.
Bob Smith, general manager of River Park Square, declined comment, except to say that no lease has been signed.
The downtown store was closed on July 27, 2003, as part of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. It was among 60 stores that Eddie Bauers parent company, Spiegel Inc., of Downers Grove, Ill., closed last year after filing for protection from creditors in March 2003. In a statement released last year, Spiegel said the closing of those underperforming stores was expected to improve Eddie Bauers financial results.
Eddie Bauer is for sale, and Spiegel is considering several initial bids from potential buyers, says Jim Brewster, Spiegels chief financial officer. Brewster says the company also is considering not selling Eddie Bauer.
Our objective is to emerge from bankruptcy as soon as possible, Brewster says. It could be a simple sale, or it could be a reorganization around Eddie Bauer.
He adds that Eddie Bauer intends to open more stores as aggressively as it can, but declines to say where it might open stores next.
We want to move to a standard platform for our stores, which is about 4,700 square feet, he says. We had stores that were way too big.
Eddie Bauer made the decision to re-enter the downtown Spokane market after a lengthy evaluation of its stores. Erickson says the company looked at sales, the size of the store, lease agreements, and projected sales.
Spokane came back up again, and we were able to find a way to make it work for us, she says.
The company hopes to reconnect with any customers it may have lost when the store closed, she says.
The feeling was every market we vacate was important to Eddie Bauer, especially when you leave a great market like Spokane. We were leaving valuable customers behind, she says. Hopefully, we can serve them again.
Erickson says there are no plans to close Eddie Bauers NorthTown Mall store or its outlet store in the Spokane Valley Plaza.
Eddie Bauer has 22 stores in Washington state and operates more than 450 stores nationwide.
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