The Limited Shuts Down Brick-and-Mortar for eCommerce Focus

January 11, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

It’s the end of an era for The Limited, and for most of the people who worked there. I say “worked,” of course, because many of them no longer do. The latest word noted that The Limited was closing nearly all of its 250 brick-and-mortar stores following sluggish third quarter sales numbers released last month, a move that actually prompted The Limited’s private equity owner, Sun Capital Partners, to step up investment in the company, nearly doubling its current investment.

Essentially, the company not only shut down its stores, but also potentially its headquarters location in New Albany, Ohio. Not only would the extensive shutdown carry on, but the company would be rerouting all those resources to focus not only on its ecommerce operations, but also work on finding a buyer for the company as a whole.

Sun Capital, meanwhile, released a disclosure to investors detailing how the increased investment will allow the company to turn a profit despite the fact that equity value of The Limited has previously been written down to absolutely nothing.

It’s a puzzling picture, but what it reveals more than anything else is that, increasingly, online commerce is the way to go. We’ve seen cable television’s numbers broken by online video opportunities, we’ve seen dozens of storefronts shuttered by the emergence of online alternatives, and we’ve seen entire towns lose stores, jobs, and even their very identity in the face of online commerce.

Mobile payments, naturally, will be a big part of this movement to come in the future, and while there will be some winners here, there will also be losers like not only those who used to work for those brick-and-mortar outlets, but also local tax bases that won’t get the income they once had.

The Limited isn’t the first to shut down stores in favor of online shopping, and it likely won’t be the last. Will we be able to survive this societal shift and take advantage of its many potential new rewards? Only time will tell on that one in the end, but in the short term, we’ll have many new options for shopping…if only online.