Coldwater Creek Going Out of Business…Why?

I was very surprised to find the following email in my box this morning….

So, everyone, why do you think Coldwater Creek is on their way out…what did they do well…what did they do wrong??  Perhaps this discussion would help other retailers….

My heart does go out to all of those employees now in need of work…


  1. My guess is: Talbots. I will look into this, I had not heard about it and I am always fascinated to find out why a retailer goes under. XO, Jill

    1. As a mid baby boomer, I cannot understand this. I am not 16, I am not 5'10 and a size 2. I don't want bland (see Talbots) There are so many of us in this age group, we are working, we spend money. I do not understand this

  2. This is a definite bummer. Where am I going to get pants that fit, especially that come to the right point at my waist. Plus they had some good skirts. But to answer your question about why, I think their blouses, tops bordered on dowdy. I think a lot of retailers have trouble with us baby boomers. Our bodies can't take some of the younger styles but we want to stay at least classic without spending a ton of money. There's no one store that can fit my body. I go JJill, Marshall's, Ross, sometimes TJMaxx, Chico's doesn't work for me, Coldwater Creek and I try Macy's but they're too fussy. Plus I think us boomers buy less, are trying to stop buying so much, have found our brands.

    Let's just say when I opened your blog, I really woke up. Shock. Jeez, this is like your mascara and bra being discontinued.

  3. Pam a couple of things come to mind. It seems on some of their clothing the quality is not what it used to be, that said, I love their jeans because they actually fit me. Second is as an ex: I have been looking for a cardigan, without ruffles, asymmetrical lines,pointelle or "older lady" looking ( even though I am, ha!) A classic cardigan.

    Then again it could be simply the competition out there! We have all noticed that there is a sale at every retailer every week.

    The Arts by Karena

    1. Quality “not what it used to be”? How about it’s turned in to cheap junk? I used to be able to count on them for quality. NO MORE! The same thing happened to Land’s End. It was great, now it’s awful. Really a shame……. I don’t know where to shop any more.

  4. I'm a little flummoxed by this. In general, though, as many brands began sourcing in China their goods changed, got skimpier, didn't hold up as well. I bought some print cotton pants in Nov just before my India trip and one leg was tighter than the other. Maybe that was one reason? I don't know. But I really loved a lot of CC stuff. Maybe they expanded to too many stores too fast when the internet is a cheaper model. Sorry to see them go.

  5. I have a few pieces of their clothing and found them to be very well made and they last a long time. It is disconcerting when something like this happens….I wonder if they got too big too fast or if the market has changed. Hope that this is not going to be a trend. I try to buy from retail shops instead of the internet as I think online shopping is the biggest threat to the individual shops.

  6. I think they're going out of business because they made boxy cheap-feeling clothes, and overpriced them. I predict Christopher & Banks will fail, also, for the same reason. I'm not sure how Chico's is doing, but this whole niche market of gaudy-clothes-for–middle-aged-women can't last.

    1. Yes, completely agree. Their clothes are boxy, frumpy, old-lady looking fabrics, colors and patterns. I'm 62 and not at my ideal weight, but I sure look a lot better when my clothes show that I have a waistline. When I try on clothes that try and cover up a woman's shape to "hide" certain areas, the end result is I feel like a shapeless blob with a tent of material on top. Same thing with Chico's – frumpy, shapeless (unless you invest more money in a tailor).

  7. For me personally, though I like the way their clothes fit, I don't particularly like the colors/patterns that they have. There is one right near my home and I go in every so often because I'll get coupons, plus they have great sales, but walk out empty-handed. But that's just my opinion, and I know there are lots of women who really like their clothes.

  8. That's sad to hear. I like Coldwater Creek but I honestly haven't bought anything there in quite some time. I think it's a combination of the cost per item, disconnected collections, and lack of customer service in the store near me. If you want me to spend money, you're going to have to provide better customer service. I always felt like I ignored because I would only buy one or two items at a time and not a complete outfit. Eventually I took my money elsewhere.

  9. I don't think they have stores in Canada. I have been into them at the factory outlets in the States but have never bought anything. I think their prices may be an issue. Also people are shopping more and more online.

  10. What always confused me is that they carry plus size clothing online but not in their stores. I think they could regain a foothold if they'd change that policy. Chico's is the same way. Lots of larger ladies out there looking for fashionable clothing!!

  11. Personally, I've never liked their use of so much polyester and other not-natural fabrics. And I've been gifted a couple of items from them that weren't good quality. But I know one woman's problems don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy retail world.

  12. I think retail is so tricky right now. The more I blog, the more I realize that I don't know the market for clothing of women my age. I see dissolution with clothing in the general population although not in the bloggers I know. I see many mid life people, men and women, who clothing doesn't matter. It's sad to me. I'm confused if the designers of clothes just don't value the older population or so many people will not try new things? Sad to see another store closing. The thrifting and consignment shops seem filled with people of all ages. Maybe it's as simple as cost.

    blue hue wonderland

  13. I am not surprised they are closing. Their style and quality has declined over the last few years. I would agree they are "dowdy" I see this everywhere in the market… I would like to see a return to cut, quality and fabric. No one talks about gabardine, faille, glenplaid, herringbone or jacquard. There are still beautiful things out there but you have to hunt!

  14. I stopped shopping at CC a couple of years ago because of the lack of quality and the really high prices that they constantly "played with" as they had some sort of sale every week. The marketing which showed overly happy thin young perfect models also made me feel inadequate as I was shopping there. There are beautiful older women who can convey a much more respectful image for a company marketing their items to me.

  15. I think bricks and mortar stores are going to be tough business model to sustain for more expensive items. I admit to buying what I consider almost disposable clothes (because they don't hold up) at Target and Old Navy. They had plenty of customers. There is also increasing competition from on-line merchants and an ever increasing number of those. I even bought my mother-of-the-groom dress on-line. Free shipping. Free returns. I always thought I should like Coldwater Creek clothes given my demographic, but I found them not particularly attractive and over-priced. I am kind of bummed out that the J. Jill outlet near me has closed, however.

  16. I have always looked through their catalogs, but not purchased from them. I have seen their stores in malls, but have never been tempted to explore beyond the front window. Their clothes always seemed extremely conservative and what I would consider "typecast"! However, from a business standpoint, I'm assuming they expanded too quickly, therefore, their overhead was supported by sales. Happens when we aspire to be something we're not.

  17. For me (and I am in my mid-fifties) their clothes were too "old lady" looking and dowdy. Plus, if you are on the petite end of the size spectrum, nothing fit. Although I am biased (as I am a consultant for CAbi) this is the beauty of CAb clothing…it is on trend without being trendy and the clothes are made for a woman's (not a young girl's) body!

  18. For me (and I am in my mid-fifties!) the clothes are too "old lady" looking and dowdy. The jackets (much like at Chico's) are too identifiable as CC . In addition, if you are on the petite side of the size spectrum, nothing fits (too big and boxy). I am biased (as I am a CAbi consultant) but that is the beauty of CAbi…on trend without looking trendy and the clothes are made to fit a woman's body!

  19. Its sad to see any clothing business die, that has over the years presented a stable line of realistic and fashionable clothing for women, I think its demise is a nutshell commentary on how the comsumer is forced to no longer commit to specific business loyalty. The world of retailing is has grown, but not the buying base, so competition is fierce.

  20. Another thought, I have not shopped Nordstrom since I was out in the business world. Yet aside from their designer lines, They had the Classiques line which you could dress up or down, always look totally put together and chic. Clothes that lasted season after season !

    I am very tired of poorly made clothing and fabrics that look like rags after a few wears (and I am not necessarily talking about CC)

    The Arts by Karena

  21. Several years ago I loved shopping there…onsite and by catalog but their clothes are overpriced. I would rather be able to try something since my body at this age isn't consistent with a certain size…if it fits in the waist, its too big in the hip (years ago it was exactly the opposite…sigh). I do shop online but find that I am not always satisfied with the fit.

  22. I had never heard of this retail store before, but I can feel for the workers who will now be out of work! Hopefully not for long!

    I haven't shopped at a chain or boutique in years for clothes, preferring to buy all I need from local thrift shops. It's amazing how little I can pay for some really nice, designer threads!

    I realize that thrift stores may not be for everyone, but they work for me 🙂

    Take care and all the best.


  23. I'm not surprised at all. They're quality has deteriorated over the last few years and their prices are high for the quality of their garments. When I've used their 50% off coupon I've felt that I was paying about what the item was worth. Sorry for the employees, however.

  24. I quit shopping there several years ago because I just could not afford it. I really don't think they intentionally raised their prices I think they were forced to do because of the rising cost of doing business in the US. It is just another company lost because of the liberals.

  25. I think they probably over-did it with the brick & morter stores. They had a particular style, I'll be neutral and call it embellished, and that niche is fairly competitive. – Chicos, JJill, even Kohl's. The lest few times I've visited their web site they seemed to be out of everything. I suspect it means they have had credit and cash issues for awhile.

  26. I was surprised to get that email, too. Our local store has great customer service, but the only things I've bought there in the past few years have been pants. They have a good selection, and I like that they have ALL the sizes. I may have to run over there and pick up another pair of their knit jeans!

  27. I've never been a fan of their catalogs. I like to see the ways clothes fit and look on real people, not just a still shot with no background. For that reason alone, I was never enticed to go into their stores.

  28. I use to love the clothes that I bought at Coldwater Creek. However, in the past several years the quality of their merchandise has really fallen. The sizes are not consistent and items were not made to their original standards. Their prices are high which is acceptable if you receive well made quality items, but the quality has fallen while prices have risen. Still, sorry to see them go out of business. Their sales clerks were always knowledgeable and very friendly.

  29. I agree with the other posters. About 5 years ago they still had clothes I enjoyed. That year their holiday selection was the last of the good ones. Then it changed. I asked why and was told the owner or previous buyer who had been out for health reason was now back, hence the dowdy limited selection. Few items fit and seemed to be way too price. I stopped shopping there around that time.

  30. Hm, interesting comments here. I loved their jackets and some sweaters and had finally found some pants I liked and bought in a couple colors (and sizes, when I lost weight). I remember their catalogs used to have really odd colors – for my coloring, anyway – and then they expanded and had some beautiful pieces in lots of different colors – *I* thought. Didn't really see them as dowdy if styled properly. I am sorry to see them go. I was just getting in to checking their online sales frequently. With a nearby store, I could return stuff there for free. I liked the service there, too.

  31. It has nothing to do with their quality or where the clothes are made. Stores with horrid quality still do a land office business. There were business mistakes made and economies not taken. Their boomer target market was never directly marketed to. I wonder where we will find clothes that fit that are not junk now.

  32. I shopped this store and Chico's. Chico's has stayed trendy for the 50+ crowd. CWC did not. They stayed with the "too-floral" look and this is what my grandmother in her nineties would wear. While the boomer-crowd is older, we still like style. Not surprised they are leaving the market.

  33. For the past two years the quality and fit declined. I believe that the styles and fabrics (weird prints) of the past two years were driving customers away. I would say the buyers and management were the cause of the declining sales.

  34. The first time I shopped at CWC everything was high quality and I could try on petites. 7 years ago the quality and styles went down hill. When I couldn't try on petites anymore I went elsewhere. Management and buyers messed up big time.

  35. Here I am…late to the party!! I just googled Coldwater Creek and found this…my mother in law- a 80 something trim and very well put together had an CC embroidered jean jacket over a decade ago that I was looking for …on Poshmark. Can’t find it but find many more things CC, to me CC always looked like ..something a well dressed teacher would wear…I was more outdoorsy dresser, still i loved their catalogue and miss it!

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