CUMBERLAND – After saying two weeks ago that they had no plans to close their remaining curtain and bath outlet stores, representatives from Cumberland-based Ann & Hope are now planning to close all of the remaining eight outlets.
The Breeze has confirmed the plan, which is being revealed to employees this morning.
Owners, who had been contemplating their options in light of the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, are still looking at the possibility of keeping garden center locations open. This is not a bankruptcy, but a decision that will be executed over time.
"Due to the significant economic impact brought on by the unprecedented COVID-19 public health crisis, Ann & Hope has made the difficult decision to permanently cease its Curtain & Bath Outlet operations across New England over the next three to four months," the company’s founding family, the Chases, announced Monday.
The Breeze reported two weeks ago after an executive for the company said that it would not be closing. Three of the brand’s 11 stores had seen announced closures in Massachusetts, said Cindy Boulet but eight more would remain open.
But in recent days, customers have reported barren aisles in the outlets and closed garden shops have caused renewed speculation about a closure.
Known as “the first discount department store in America” with a discount self-service model tied to the rise of major retailers, Ann & Hope was founded in 1953. Prior to starting their own businesses, Walmart founder Sam Walton and Kmart’s Harry Cunningham each came to Rhode Island to study Ann & Hope’s pioneering discount department store concept. In its heyday, Ann & Hope employed 3,000 associates across Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Ann & Hope to permanently close all Curtain & Bath Outlet locations
A store closing sale is expected to begin on July 9 and each of the 11 outlet stores in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut are expected to close by the end of the summer.
The Valley Breeze is committed to keeping quality news stories like this one free to our readers. You can be a huge part of this local journalism success story by making a one-time or monthly contribution to what we do every week. Thank you as always for reading.
“This was an exceedingly difficult decision, but after carefully looking at all of our available options, it became apparent that it was inevitable,” said Ron Dore, corporate vice president at Ann & Hope. “The unprecedented economic uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 public health crisis, combined with more consumers gravitating toward online shopping alternatives, has created a retail environment that is simply no longer sustainable for many locally owned businesses like ours.”
“We are tremendously proud of everything we have been able to accomplish in Rhode Island and across southern New England since our founding in 1953,” Dore added. “We want to express our sincere gratitude to each of our associates, whose day-to-day dedication to making the shopping experience special for our millions of customers over the years has helped build Ann & Hope into the unique company we will always be proud of and always remember.”
Ann & Hope intends to retain employees as long as its business permits and will also make an effort to introduce its associates to area businesses with employment opportunities.
As the closing process continues, additional information will be made available at www.curtainandbathoutlet.com.