12/16/2013 01:11 pm ET

As Loehmann's Files For Bankruptcy Again, We Wonder: Has It Lost Its Purpose?


This morning, bargain shoppers were met with some disheartening news: Loehmann's has filed for bankruptcy... for the third time.

Women's Wear Daily reports that the retailer listed its assets as $100 million, but it has liabilities of $500 million. It previously filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and successfully "exited" in 2000, only to file again in 2010 and recover in 2011.

But there's no guarantee of "third time's the charm" for Loehmann's. It may be that Loehmann's and designer bargain stores like it are reaching the end of their run. Here are two possible reasons:

1. While shoppers are still on the hunt for designer clothes at a discount, online models like THE OUTNET, Bluefly, Gilt and Rue La La are all able to do something stores like Loehmann's typically cannot: Offer in-season styles. As WWD notes, Loehmanns' model relies on season-old merchandise that's then sold at a deep discount. But online outlets can move faster.

As such, Reuters notes, stores with similar off-season models such as Daffy's, Filene's Basement and Syms have all gone out of business in the past few years.

2. The appeal of Loehmann's and similar discount stores is getting the trendiest designer styles at low prices. But "high street" retailers like Zara, H&M and Mango are delivering near replicas of runway trends faster than ever, making it unnecessary to wait even one month, much less an entire season, to get the new trends at an affordable price. There's a reason they call it "fast fashion."

And yet, for many of us, Loehmann's still holds a special spot in our hearts. With easy-to-use online discounters and the ubiquitous high street retailers, do you still feel the need for a Loehmann's in your life?

Will Loehmann's go the way of these stores?

Stores We Don't Shop At Anymore

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