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Rumors of Hanover J. Crew’s death exaggerated as retailer reverses lease decision

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 6/26/2020 9:53:36 PM
Modified: 6/26/2020 9:53:29 PM

HANOVER — Bankrupt retailer J. Crew now says it is not planning to close its Hanover store — at least not now.

The switch in the store’s fate was flagged after J. Crew indicated it had reached a “resolution” with property owner Dartmouth College, although a spokeswoman for the college said Friday that the situation with the tenant was still in flux.

J. Crew Group Inc. on Thursday filed and was granted approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to terminate lease agreements with stores as part of its bankruptcy reorganization process. J. Crew filed for bankruptcy protection in early May because of COVID-19.

“While the Hanover store was on the initial list of leases the company intended to reject, it has since been removed from the list,” Abigail Farr, a spokeswoman for J. Crew, said via email on Friday.

Earlier this month, J. Crew said in a news release that it had submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court “to reject” the leases of 67 retail stores as part of a “real estate optimization strategy.”

The Hanover J. Crew store, which opened in 2012 on South Main Street, had been listed in that filing.

But J. Crew also said at the time that the company “will remove a store lease from the rejection list in the future if it reaches an acceptable resolution with the affected landlord.”

Dartmouth College spokeswoman Diana Lawrence, who earlier in the week confirmed to the Valley News that J. Crew would be closing its Hanover store effective June 30, said Friday that the college has not been updated by J. Crew about its plans to keep the store open.

“This is an evolving situation and we look forward to hearing more from J. Crew on their intentions for the Hanover location and partnering with all of our downtown tenants to get through the challenges of COVID-19,” Lawrence said via email.

On Friday afternoon there was a sign outside the J. Crew store that greeted customers with “Welcome Back” and the hours were posted as being open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

An employee at the store referred questions to J. Crew’s corporate office.

Given how many restaurants have closed in Hanover because of COVID-19, the decision by J. Crew to reverse course on shuttering the Hanover store was greeted as good news, even if the retail giant’s future is uncertain.

“While J. Crew as a company may ultimately be completely liquidated, for at least this week, that storefront will remain occupied,” Julia Griffin, Hanover town manager, said via email.

Contact John Lippman at jlippman@vnews.com.

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