The Fashion Bug to close in Middlebury
MIDDLEBURY — The Fashion Bug women’s clothing store, a fixture in The Centre shopping plaza on Route 7 South for more than two decades, will close its doors by Jan. 31.
The Fashion Bug, along with the Lane Bryant and Catherines stores, are owned by Charming Shoppes Inc.
Company officials said the Middlebury Fashion Bug is one of 25 such stores nationwide scheduled for closing in the near future. The demise of the Middlebury location coincides with the expiration of its lease in The Centre, according to Chris Hunt of Myron Hunt Inc., the company that owns the shopping plaza.
“We have been talking to a number of prospective new tenants,” Hunt said of the future of the 7,000-square-foot space. “The retail industry as a whole is a little tentative right now. We are hoping to lease it as soon as possible.”
The Middlebury Fashion Bug currently employs eight people, six of whom are part-timers. The store had gained a local following among women seeking inexpensive “misses” and plus-size fashions.
Workers at the local store referred all inquiries to the Fashion Bug corporate headquarters in Bensalem, Pa. The store is currently running a liquidation sale with items ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent off. Plans call for the store to maintain the sale for as long as the inventory lasts, or until Jan. 31, whichever comes first.
Fashion Bug has more than 800 stores in 43 states nationwide, according to the company’s Web site. The average store size is 8,700 square feet and its core customers are women in the 30-50 age group, according to the corporate profile.
Other Fashion Bug stores in Vermont are in Rutland, Burlington, Essex, St. Albans, Bennington and St. Johnsbury. Company officials said the Middlebury Fashion Bug is the only one in Vermont currently slated for closing.