Breaking: Sergio Rossi to Close All Stores in United States by Early 2009

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We're on Madison Avenue store deathwatch right now, and the latest one to go is Italian footwear brand Sergio Rossi. Just a week after their blowout sample sale at the Metropolitan Pavilion, where prices were slashed by 90 percent ($700 shoes were going for $50, and $1,000 boots were $100), a representative confirmed to us today that all stores in the United States will close by early 2009. "Strategically the company has decided to focus on its wholesale, which has proven to be the correct channel for the brand development and further expansion in the U.S," the spokesperson said. "As a consequence, its current New York, Los Angeles, and Hawaii retail stores will be closed at the end of 2008 and into the first quarter of 2009." However, the shoes will still be available at department stores. "We took the decision some months ago as part of our strategy. We have implemented it over this period, and it is becoming effective during the first quarter of 2009." When we asked if this is how the company is dealing with the economy — as opposed to calling it a predetermined business plan — the answer was "no comment." Even so, the national closing of Sergio Rossi stand-alones speaks for itself.