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Rue 21 to close at Platte River Mall Tell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image

Clothing retailer rue 21 is closing its store in North Platte’s Platte River Mall, one of nearly 400 stores it will close around the country.

The company, which is in tough financial straits, confirmed the closures on Saturday afternoon, the day before Easter.

“We are closing some stores,” the company said in a simple statement. “It was a difficult but necessary decision. We still have hundreds of locations across the country, and our website rue21.com, is open for business.”

The company, headquartered just north of Pittsburgh, has about 1,200 stores in 48 states in shopping malls, outlets and strip malls. It has expanded rapidly in the last 15 years, mostly in smaller cities and towns.

If the company follows through with this round of planned closures, it will cut one-third of its outlets. Nebraska stores in Gretna and Lincoln are also closing.

The company was reportedly struggling to pay its bills earlier this month, the Pittsburg Dispatch newspaper said Saturday.

The closures reflect the challenges facing many retailers as Amazon and other online shopping sites continue to grow while brick and mortar retailers suffer.

Platte River Mall Manager Cassie Condon remains optimistic about the future. She told the Bulletin that the wants and needs of consumers are changing, and retailers are adapting.

"Online retail has affected us," she said. "In communities our size, we feel the hit even harder."

Condon said many retailers are beginning to change their business tactics. Integrating technology, through apps similar to what Buckle is doing, or creating a better customer experience like AMC theater is doing with new concessions, will help retailers stay ahead of the game.

Meanwhile, leasing at the mall is currently "considerably active," Condon said. "Our team and ownership are working vigilantly to fill our spaces. I am optimistic for our future."

Among related closures, JC Penney announced in March it would close 138 stores nationwide, including North Platte’s.

Staples is looking for a buyer for the company, while the competing business supply division of Amazon is booming, according to news reports.

Payless Shoes is struggling financially and the Vanity clothing store in the mall has closed.

A bit of hope for the mall’s vitality came Friday, when a JC Penney executive told a CNBC reporter that the Penney’s stores would remain open at least one month longer than planned, due to an uptick in business in the last 30 days or so.

Rue 21 came to North Platte in 2012.

The company was formerly known as Pennsylvania Fashions Inc.

Pennsylvania Fashions Inc., went broke in 2002 but came out of bankruptcy in May 2003 as ‘rue21 Inc.’ after voluntarily reorganizing. The new company launched an aggressive expansion program that continued through the Great Recession of 2008-09 and beyond. It had about 850 stores in 2012, according to the announcement about the opening in North Platte. Today, its number of stores is about 1,200, the Pittsburg Dispatch said.

In addition to the growth of Amazon-type stores, the American economy suffers from an underlying weakness of wage stagnation, forcing shoppers to search for the best deals they can find.


This report was updated Monday, April 17.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 4/16/2017
Copyright © 2017 northplattebulletin.com - All rights reserved.
Flatrock Publishing, Inc. - 1300 E 4th St., Suite F - North Platte, NE 69101
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These stores are constantly blaming online retail. I just don't see how that's possible here in NP. Maybe overall they are experiencing losses due to online retail, but I just don't see how these stores - right here in this town -- are going out of business because of online retail in NP. Am I wrong?
Posted by Arwen    - 4/21/2017 12:46:27 PM
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NebraskaLand National Bank You've got a
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I saw somewhere that the NP City council has decided to turn the JCPenney store into an indoor skate park.
Posted by joshuawelden    - 4/20/2017 8:11:47 AM
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When a store orders for you in their store they get credit for the sale, so it is another way to "save the sale" and help that local store's profit. If a person orders online themselves it is lost. That's the reasoning behind that service.
Posted by tdr    - 4/19/2017 8:01:43 PM
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JC Penney in NP pushed online shopping several times while I was shopping in the store. "Would you like me to order that online for you". So, when I saw their reason for closing, I couldn't help but think that they taught people to shop online. I will hate to see the store go personally.
Posted by Arwen    - 4/19/2017 7:34:01 AM
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The best thing I've seen at the mall recently has been the farmers market in the parking lot. Yes, I know it is only for a few months of the year. But if some of the mall vendors/stores would set up small booths with a bit of merchandise or advertising, it might help them draw more customers into the mall.
Posted by gizzmo    - 4/17/2017 8:27:41 PM
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A talkback asking what the Chamber has done to keep businesses in the mall was accidently del ete d Monday evening. Regrets. It was posted four times, no doubt due to a delay in the system's response. In deleting the extra TBs, I went one too far. My bad.
Posted by George Lauby    - 4/17/2017 6:10:15 PM
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The problem is much bigger than the Mall, it falls back on the few families that run NP, they have had it their way for generations, the Population of NP has not grown over 1,000 people since 1984 or so, but our city leaders have thrown money at devco, the chamber, tiff, and other scam organizations only to grease the pockets of a few. NP is dieing or at least topped out, until they stop throwing money down the drain year after year and actually put it towards attracting something big, you will see things very similar in another forty years.
Posted by justmeagain    - 4/17/2017 4:23:04 PM
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I whole heartedly agree with you George about shopping local to keep money local. Your right that soon its going to be just Amazon. However, to my knowledge it is not Amazon itself that sets its prices as it is the individual retailers that do. But on tract your right about less competition = higher prices.
Posted by Emerson    - 4/17/2017 10:02:11 AM
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Malls have been closing or restructuring for decades! And as for buying locally, sometimes you just cant find it (what you need) here! Amazon is not the bad guy, and sometimes amazon does not have the best deal! I have found that out many times shopping online prior to going to different stores in town. Look at the Mall of America in Mn! They have had to remake themselves to stay relevant several times. If businesses want to keep their doors open, (brick and mortar) then they will have to learn to be more competitive. And even amazon is talking brick and mortar stores, so maybe the problem isn't what so many are complaining about, amazon being the big bully to local businesses, maybe amazon is making them adjust their sometimes ridiculous pricing!
Posted by Chuck Matson    - 4/17/2017 7:32:05 AM
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dadof9, it's attitudes like yours that is helping to kill this town. You want bigger and better and complain that it isn't here so you go elsewhere to shop. Taking money out of the local economy so that when bigger and better looks at North Platte they see little to no growth and take their store some where else. It's not hard to figure out. Look at every other community around there. They are all growing in the right direction. All accept the good ol' dirty. Because, for whatever reason, the folks here think they are entitled to more than they deserve. It's a city full of little children who think they are allowed to have their ice cream without eating their broccoli. You want your big flashy Olive Garden or Old Navy or Target? Then you need to sink more money into the mall and Luigi's and Another Round and all the other local businesses you already have.
Posted by bigtroubleinlittlenp    - 4/17/2017 4:52:39 AM
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dadof9....while I understand where you are going with your comments I don't know that I agree with your statement on the car dealerships. I was in the car business here in North Platte for nearly ten years in the early to mid 2000's and the local dealers today do a much better job taking care of our community in all aspects and as a result, I see fewer and fewer out of town tags on the back of vehicles today. I also realize it's not logical to think everyone should have to buy their vehicles locally. As in most retail transactions, with the internet, you'll always be able to find someone willing to sell you the same thing for less money. It really just boils down to each of us being cognizant of how we want to support our community when it comes to these type of transactions. I would argue we are all "guilty" of buying something out of town. We have a lot of work to do as a community if we want North Platte to move in the right direction.
Posted by jeditruth    - 4/16/2017 7:10:55 PM
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I agree with Steve. Everyone says "shop locally. Keep your business in north platte". The problem is there's no good shops here. Same goes for buying cars. That's why u see all these cars around town with out of town car dealership stickers on them.
Posted by dadof9    - 4/16/2017 6:32:00 PM
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It's hard to say what will happen. The prophecy of doom makes you think. This is another economic shift... retail is generally having a tough time. rue has been agressively expanding, probably in hopes of gaining enough volume to make profits, while Amazon, etc. is capturing the marketplace because they give good service without the costs of brick and mortar. The mall can make adjustments if it seeks good merchants that serve people with fine products and prices. That takes time, money and energy -- like all successful operations. As shoppers, we help by buying local, even if it is not be as easy as ordering online from someplace in another state. When Amazon's competition is mostly eliminated, they will raise prices, and the alternatives will be closed. Spend some money locally and don't overlook the benefits to the community.
Posted by George Lauby    - 4/16/2017 3:07:36 PM
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With an anchor store like JCP closing you will see the continued downward spiral of NP's Mall. Many Malls throughout the U.S.close their doors once an anchor store closes. Its a sad fact and the writing is on the wall folks.
Posted by Summer Sleeve    - 4/16/2017 1:25:59 PM
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Also selling over priced items due to the extremely high cost of rent at "the mall" doesnt help either
Posted by stuperdave    - 4/16/2017 10:59:49 AM
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Hahaha our so called "Mall" has been in a downward spiral for many years. The last time it was worth a damn was many yrs ago when Safeway, the arcade, record town and tcby were there.
Posted by stuperdave    - 4/16/2017 10:57:18 AM
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