Hamburgers closing flagship store downtown Fate unclear for rest of clothing chain

July 02, 1992|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Staff Writer

"Going Out of Business" signs went up at the landmark Hamburgers store in Charles Center yesterday, marking the end of the company's 142-year-old presence in downtown Baltimore.

The company is running clearance sales at all 12 of its stores, offering 30 percent to 70 percent off all merchandise. But in an advertisement in yesterday's Evening Sun, only the flagship store was identified as going out of business.

Hamburgers' parent company, TJFC Inc. in New York, made no announcement regarding the fate of the chain's 11 other stores, eight of which are in Maryland. TJFC, which is owned by Hugo Boss SA of Germany, has repeatedly said it intends to sell off or close the entire business.

Representatives of Hamburgers and Hugo Boss did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday.

With no sign of a buyer on the horizon, the only apparent barrier holding up the company's overall shutdown is a need to negotiate its way out of its current leases.

The Rouse Co., its landlord at three sites, has acknowledged that it is holding talks with Hamburgers over the early termination of its leases.

Rene Daniels, president of the Daniels Group, a retail consulting firm, said Hamburgers' parent company is facing tough negotiations with landlords because of the difficulty of replacing it with a similar tenant. Hamburgers sells some women's clothing but is best known as a menswear store.

"I'm sure the malls have no intention of letting these guys walk," Mr. Daniels said. "These guys are not bankrupt."

Hamburgers has confirmed reaching an agreement in principle to sell three of its leases to Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc., TC Joppa-based national clothing chain.

But the company has not announced which stores would be converted.

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