Woolworth Corp. will shut all 260 of its Richman Brothers and Anderson Little stores -- which touted their "Made in America" suits and dresses -- within a year.
The New York-based discount retail chain said the Richman Brothers and Anderson Little division, which has five stores and about 30 workers in Maryland, was a poor performer.
Woolworth had been trying to sell the division since January but rejected the bids it received. On Thursday, the company decided to close the division.
"There has been a decline in demand for structured, tailored clothing such as men's suits and sportcoats. There is a dressing-down phenomenon in the workplace. Also significant has been the economy. That has hampered us," said company spokesman Oscar Chilabato.
Woolworth also will close or sell the three U.S. factories that made clothing for the stores. Nationwide, 4,500 workers will be affected, but not all will lose their jobs, the company said.
Woolworth said it might turn some of the closed stores into outlets for other divisions, such as Champs, Northern Reflection and Foot Locker.
But many of the stores in Maryland are in malls that already have Champs or Foot Locker stores.
Most of the workers and managers in the division's Maryland stores declined to comment yesterday.
Bob Dainsel, an analyst who follows Woolworth stock for New Japan Securities International in New York, said the Richman division had been losing money for three years.