The Lane Bryant abundance at the Water Tower Plaza in Leominster bankrupt on Saturday. SENTINEL & ENTERPRISE / JOHN LOVE
LEOMINSTER — Afterwards Lane Bryant at Watertower Plaza shut its doors Saturday, abounding bounded plus-size women are larboard apprehensive breadth they’re activity to boutique for accouterment afterwards the dematerialization of the aftermost specialty boutique of its affectionate in the area.
Shirley Payton, 54, of Fitchburg, said she’s been a chump of Lane Bryant for at atomic 30 years.
“They accept added fashionable stuff, added array in sizes. I’m consistently affirmed to airing in actuality and airing out with something,” she said as she browsed what was larboard in the about bald abundance Thursday afternoon. “And if you’ve got an occasion, like a bells or a affair or something, you’re affirmed to accretion article in this store.”
Payton said she enjoys Lane Bryant’s mix of casual, able and going-out wear, and the beautiful selections and colors of all of them — abnormally the dresses.
Lane Bryant is additionally one of the few food breadth she is able to accretion a array of shoes that fit her admeasurement 12-wide feet, she said. Some added stores, like Payless Shoe Source, backpack up to admeasurement 13, Payton said, but alone a actual baby selection.
“I can’t accept they’re closing their doors,” she said. “It makes you appetite to cry.”
It abnormally hurts afterwards the closing of Fashion Bug in Lunenburg at the end of aftermost year, Payton said.
Fashion Bug and Lane Bryant acclimated to be allotment of Charming Shoppes Inc. until the aggregation was awash to Ascena Retail Group Inc.
“They leave us boilerplate to shop, and that stinks,” said Payton.
Other breadth food do action plus-size clothing, but the selections are generally bound to baby sections aural beyond administration stores, such as Kohls, Sears, JC Penney, Walmart, Target and Kmart. In food such as these, the accouterment may be cheap, but “you get what you pay for” in agreement of quality, Payton said.
Nicole Couture Skorb, 33, of Fitchburg, said she feels best added places adjacent alone action “old adult plus-size clothes.”
“Can’t I be plus-size and not attending like an 80-year-old librarian?” she said.
Skorb said she became a Lane Bryant chump due to her adversity in accident her abundance weight afterward the bearing of her son, AJ, in May 2012.
“The best affairs point for me is their jeans,” she said. “They accept accurately adapted jeans for altered types and sizes of women, not aloof 2x, 3x or whatever. Aback I approved on the jeans they had, they fit perfect.”
Rebecca Chandler, 28, of Orange, collection 45 account on Thursday to Lane Bryant to buy Spanx shapewear and was ashamed to apprentice that not alone did the abundance not accept any, but that it was closing.
She said she’s been a chump for about eight years, and was absorbed already she was alien to Lane Bryant’s band of Cacique bras, which baby to bigger, bustier women, and appear in fun colors and prints instead of aloof arid biscuit or white.
“I bought my aboriginal Lane Bryant bra aback I was 21 or 22, and it aloof fit so absolute it was amazing,” Chandler said. “And they still accept that bra. It’s the alone one that the wire hasn’t poked out, or hasn’t ripped afar on me.”
She’s additionally a fan of the lingerie and shoes, and brand how the abundance is up to date with trends. Chandler feels that’s not the case with best added food that backpack plus-size clothing, like DressBarn, which she feels caters to earlier women.
“A lot of them are absolutely aloof arid and added for an earlier crowd. I feel like you can get the young, beginning attending here,” she said. “It doesn’t accomplish you feel like you’re bigger, or altered than any of the added girls, because you can accretion article that fits you and looks aloof as adult and cool. It makes me feel a little added feminine than like ‘Hey, actuality you go, abrasion this attache bag and you’ll be great.'”
Marshalls and TJ Maxx additionally action some plus-size clothing, but neither offers any articles consistently. The TJX Companies Inc. tend to acquirement added manufacturers’ surplus and past-season items.
The arcade acquaintance at these types of food additionally isn’t for everybody.
Chandler said she doesn’t adore arcade at Marshalls and TJ Maxx “because you accept to aces through everything, it drives me crazy.”
Lane Bryant operates added than 800 food nationwide, about 15 of which are in Massachusetts. With the Leominster area closing, the aing added food in Massachusetts are Marlboro, Millbury and Natick, and Nashua and Merrimack in New Hampshire.
Making the adventure out to addition area may be the alone advantage for plus-size women who appetite to be able to see, blow and try on their accouterment afore purchasing it.
Payton said she doesn’t adjustment from catalogs, because the items in actuality are generally abundant altered from how they attending on cardboard or online, and allocation is difficult to barometer — and the altercation of accepting to address it aback and alter isn’t account it.
It is cryptic why Lane Bryant is closing its Leominster store, and if the aggregation affairs to accessible up addition area nearby. Attempts to acquaintance the company’s accumulated appointment were not alternate aftermost week.
Skorb said the charge absolutely exists.
“There’s a lot added plus-size than there are tiny, little angular bodies anymore. Unfortunately, that’s the way the country is aptitude against these days,” she said.
Luis Rosero, an abettor assistant of economics at Fitchburg State University and a researcher in its Regional Bread-and-er Development Institute, additionally bidding abruptness over account that the abundance was closing, accustomed contempo trends in blubber rates.
“If the appeal is there, the accumulation will eventually come,” Rosero said.
What troubles him most, however, is the bread-and-er appulse that could appear from the store’s advisers aback actuality after jobs. Some may be able to alteration to added stores, but some will be unemployed.
“Retail is one of those sectors we anguish about from an bread-and-er development point of view,” Rosero said. “Retail is, in a sense, an aperture for a lot of our activity force, abnormally for the lower-skilled area of our population, but additionally the adolescent area of the population. So obviously, it is of affair to see a retail employer go away, for sure.”
Lost accomplishment additionally beggarly absent spending power, which “reverberates through the economy,” he said.
According to numbers tracked by REDI, retail accounts for about 25 percent of all of the jobs accessible in Leominster, at a absolute of 4,075 retail workers, and 17.3 percent in Fitchburg, or 1,726 workers, he said. Of those numbers, 189 represent advisers of accouterment food in Leominster and 47 in Fitchburg, Rosero said.
Based on abstracts from the third division of 2012, the boilerplate account allowance for a accouterment abundance agent in Leominster was $300, and $315 for its Fitchburg counterpart, he said.
Nationally, Rosero said, retail is one of the faster growing industries in agreement of jobs, abacus 47,000 jobs in July and 352,000 jobs over the aftermost 12 months.
Follow Alana Melanson at facebook.com/alanasentinel or on Twitter @alanamelanson.
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