Retail demand remains high in Tulare

Under Armour outlet, O’Reilly Auto Parts planning to open in Tulare sometime this year

By John Lindt
Sierra2theSea News Service

TULARE – Outside of Bravo Farms and Petsense, there isn’t a lot of activity going on at the Tulare Outlets. But when retail reopens sometime this year, there will be a few new doors opening for workers and shoppers in Tulare.

Under Amour, the sports clothing company, will be the newest addition to the Tulare Outlets in the coming months. It was surprising news after the company’s announcement last week that it will incur up to $525 million in restructuring charges to rebalance its cash flow. The restructuring included $290 million to forego the opening of a flagship store in New York City while pursuing sublet options for the long-term lease.

All of the company’s stores, including full price and outlets, will remain closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak. Under Armour employees at the full price and U.S. distribution facility workers will be temporarily laid off starting April 12, according to Dow Jones & Co.’s Market Watch. Under Armour stock has sunk 64.2% over the past year while the S&P 500 index SPX, -1.51% is down 12% for the period.

The store concept started in 1996 when CEO and founder Kevin Plank created the original performance T-shirt that regulated body temperature to make athletes cooler, drier, lighter, and better. Since that first T-shirt, Under Armour has grown into the most innovative brand in all of sports with gear for men, women, and youth.

Under Armour, Inc., headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland, is a leading inventor, marketer and distributor of branded athletic performance apparel, footwear and accessories. Powered by one of the world’s largest digitally connected fitness and wellness communities, Under Armour’s innovative products and experiences are designed to help advance human performance, making all athletes better. For further information, please visit about.underarmour.com.

The sports store will fill a 8,000-square foot space formerly occupied by Dressbarn. The parent for the women’s clothing store, Ascena, announced last May that it was closing all 650 of its Dressbarn stores to shed $300 million in lease liability. Ascena announced on Feb. 19 that it had successfully completed the wind down of all stores including Tulare and Visalia. All Dressbarn stores have now been closed, and the Dressbarn intellectual property assets and its ecommerce business have been sold and transitioned to its new owner.

“The completion of the Dressbarn wind down concludes a significant step in ascena’s ongoing transformation and is in line with the Company’s three key priorities: driving sustainable growth, improving operating margins, and optimizing our capital structure,” said Gary Muto, chief executive officer of Ascena. “Thanks to strong leadership and focused execution, we mitigated the financial impact of the wind down while maintaining our commitment to treat the Dressbarn associates and other key stakeholders fairly and with respect throughout the process. We appreciate the tremendous support Dressbarn received from landlords, vendors, associates and suppliers.”

The demand for retail remains strong in Tulare as evidenced by Walmart’s mention in the Wall Street Journal: “Walmart – with a stores in Visalia and Tulare among other local cities have seen their sales rise rapidly in stores and online in recent weeks as shoppers, worried about the spread of coronavirus, rushed to stockpile water, face masks and canned goods before shifting their focus to necessities for a prolonged stretch at home.”

Walmart sales from its over 4,700 U.S. stores increased nearly 20% over the past four weeks compared with the same period last year, according to documents viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

And Under Armour isn’t the only development coming to town. Tulare’s planning department says permits were pulled to construct an O’Reilly Auto Parts on the northwest corner of San Joaquin Avenue and J Street. The store is a $2.3 million project of around 8000 square feet.

– John Lindt is the publisher of Sierra2theSea.net, an online newspaper covering California’s Central Valley and Central Coast.

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