Kenneth Cole Closing All Of Its Outlet Stores

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

This has not been a good year for the designer brands that you generally find at outlet malls. Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Coach have all cut back on their department store presence during 2016, hoping to find customers who will pay full price somewhere else. Kenneth Cole, meanwhile, is trying another tactic: the brand is closing all of its outlet stores, leaving two full-price boutiques, its website, sales through other retailers, and its international business.

Unlike its competitors, Kenneth Cole does plan to keep its wholesale business going and sell through department stores and other retailers. Bloomberg reports that the stores that will close over the next six months will be its 63 outlet stores across the country.

“As we continue on our path of strengthening our global lifestyle brand, we look to expand our online and full-price retail footprint across the globe,” the company’s CEO wrote in an email on Friday. Got that? No more cut-rate outlet pricing.

As a private company, Kenneth Cole doesn’t report its sales figures to investors or to the public, but shutting down all of the company’s outlet stores is drastic, and shows a commitment to making customers value its brand more and not seek rock-bottom prices. It’s just doing it differently from its competitors.

Will this work? In the coming years, we’ll find out, along with the entire fashion industry.

Kenneth Cole to Shut Down Almost All Its Brick-and-Mortar Stores [Bloomberg]