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January 15, 2015

Walnut Street, KOP Kenneth Cole stores to close by end of month

Clearance sales abound

Lifestyle Shopping
Kenneth Cole Walnut Street Braden Baker/for PhillyVoice

The street view of the Walnut Street Kenneth Cole retail location on Jan. 15.

After making a call Thursday to Philly's 1422 Walnut St. location, home of one of two Kenneth Cole retail stores in the region, has learned that the building will go vacant on Jan. 25.

The fashion retailer's Walnut Street store, which employs five people and was once the brand's flagship location, is the victim of a massive string of Kenneth Cole retail closures nationwide; only five locations -- one in Washington, D.C., two in New York and two on the West Coast, the employee told -- will remain open. The intention is to make the stores more high-end and focus on leather shoes and apparel (which is basically what the retailer does best). But don't fret too much: The outlet locations -- like the one at Tanger Outlets in Lancaster, Pa., or Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick, in Montgomery County, for example -- will remain unaffected.

The official statement from Kenneth Cole, sent to this afternoon:

“At Kenneth Cole, our goal is to provide high-quality, on-trend products that are true to our brand’s heritage and relevant to our rapidly changing world. To ensure that our business is well-positioned to deliver on this commitment, we are working on a new and best-in class shopping experience for our customers. In addition to optimizing our e-commerce business and enhancing our online offering, we are also working on a new retail concept for our flagship stores. While this initiative to rethink and reinvigorate our online and retail footprint will involve the closing some of our older stores in the U.S., our products will continue to be sold online at and in outlets, as well as in department and specialty stores.”

Kenneth Cole did not specify in the statement exactly how many retail stores will close.

Also impacted, on the regional level, is the King of Prussia Mall location, which a store employee said will close Sunday. That location will shutter earlier than expected, the employee said, as nearly all of its inventory has been emptied. (So, hurry if you want to grab a deal.)

The Walnut Street store is currently offering 60 percent off all men's merchandise, 70 percent off women's shoes and 60-80 percent off women's clothing.