Can The Limited Brand Be Reborn As An Online Only Retailer?

Can The Limited Brand Be Reborn As An Online Only Retailer?

Nearly a year after filing for bankruptcy, shuttering its stores and selling off its e-Commerce domain and brand name, The Limited is attempting a comeback. The retailer, now owned by Sycamore Partners, relaunched its e-Commerce site on Oct. 20. stayed open after the bankruptcy filing, but not as an e-Commerce site. Instead, the site encouraged visitors to subscribe to the brand’s email list in order to stay up to date on The Limited’s status.

As retail bankruptcies have increased substantially in 2017, companies with facing closure have refocused efforts and achieved some success. Companies such as GymboreePaylessBCBG Max Azria and Rue21 have emerged from Chapter 11 with reduced debt and smaller store footprints. So, there is hope for The Limited on its second go-around, but it will be an uphill battle.

Traffic to dropped from 1.48 million visitors, when the retailer filed for bankruptcy in January, to nearly 80,000 in August, according to data from SimilarWeb. The company’s marketing push ahead of the relaunch appeared to send the company back in the right direction, since the visitor total jumped to 140,000 visitors during the month of September.

One potential advantage for The Limited is the fact that the brand cut the cord with most malls, which are struggling to increase in-store traffic. The retailer apparently had debt obligations of $100 million prior to the bankruptcy filing, yet never had a problem with e-Commerce growth. In 2015, The Limited reeled in $130 million in online sales, up 18.2% from $110 million in 2014, according to Internet Retailer.

Without a store presence, The Limited can go back to basics and focus on improving its customer service, supply chain and merchandise offerings. When and if the time comes to re-enter the brick-and-mortar space and literally start from the ground up, the company will be able to try different formats, locations and marketing ideas.

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