In the latest Shop Talk column, news about Japanese retailer Muji and men's clothing company Jos. A. Bank closing their Palo Alto stores, plus MacArthur Park's plans to temporarily suspend its downtown restaurant until 2021.
MUJI SHUTTERS AT STANFORD ... Japanese retailer Muji announced on July 31 that it is closing all seven of its California locations, including its store at Stanford Shopping Center, as part of a company restructuring due to the COVID-19 closures. "Muji recently began taking steps to restructure our U.S. business operations. A part of this evolution included the difficult decision to close our California retail locations indefinitely. ... Thank you for eight wonderful years in California," the company stated in a press release. The unexpected closures come just two weeks after the company announced that it was filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 10. "Muji U.S.A. will remain fully operational throughout this restructuring," the company stated at the time as it moved forward with phased reopenings of stores across the country. Founded in Japan in 1980, the retailer sells household goods, apparel and food at locations worldwide. Muji opened at Stanford in summer 2015, becoming the first location in a U.S. shopping center. — L.T.
JOS. A. BANK LEAVES MIDPENINSULA ... Menswear retailer Jos. A. Bank has left the Midpeninsula. Parent company Tailored Brands, which has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, plans reduce its workforce by 20% and close up to 500 stores nationwide as part of a series of organizational changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its significant impact on the company's brands, which include Men's Warehouse, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G in addition to Jos. A Bank, the company stated in a July 21 announcement. Reportedly, the company's Palo Alto Jos. A. Bank location at 270 University Ave. and its San Mateo store at 208 E. Third Ave. are among the first 100 of its sites that Tailored Brands planned to permanently shutter. According to the Jos. A. Bank company website, both stores have closed. The company would not provide further comment. Since 1905, Jos. A. Bank has specialized in men's suits, dress shirts, sportcoats, tuxedo rentals and "big and tall" collections. — L.T.
MACARTHUR PARK CLOSED UNTIL 2021 ... This Saturday, Aug. 8, will be MacArthur Park's last day of service until 2021. The owners of MacArthur Park, which has occupied a historic, 11,000-square-foot building on the edge of downtown Palo Alto for nearly 40 years, have decided to close the restaurant temporarily. "The safety of our staff and patrons has always been an utmost concern. Combined with the challenging economics, we decided it best to pause our operations til next year," spokesperson Michael Davis wrote in an email. MacArthur Park opened in 1981 at 27 University Ave., next to the Palo Alto Caltrain station. The building was designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan in 1918 and originally served as a recreation facility for troops training at Camp Fremont in Menlo Park during World War I, according to the restaurant's website. After offering takeout and delivery for several months, the restaurant reopened for outdoor dining in July. But without MacArthur Park's large indoor dining room and mezzanine as a draw, coupled with the loss of special events, the economics proved difficult, Davis said. "It felt as though it was an uphill battle," he said. — E.K.
UPDATE: After an "overwhelming response" from customers who wanted MacArthur Park to stay open, the restaurant has reopened for takeout only, Tuesday-Saturday from 4-8 p.m., said spokesperson Michael Davis. "It's so heartwarming to have seen all the support we have had over the years so for now we will carry on with this until we can open our in-dining again, when this pandemic is better controlled," he wrote in an Aug. 16 email.
Compiled by the Weekly staff; this week written by Linda Taaffe and Elena Kadvany. Got leads on interesting and news-worthy retail developments? The Weekly will check them out. Email [email protected].