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Wilsons to close 160 stores, focus on women's accessories


MINNEAPOLIS Wilsons The Leather Experts announced Friday that as part of a cost-cutting initiative, it would close up to 160 mall locations and eliminate about 938 store-related positions. In addition, the company announced that it would convert the remaining 100 stores in the mall division to a new "Studio" concept, which will focus on women's fashion accessories.

The company said the remodeling of the 100 stores should be completed by August.

The decision to take these actions, while very difficult, is the right move for the future of Wilsons Leather, said Mike Searles, Wilsons Leathers ceo. We expect the cost reduction initiative will enable us to reduce our working capital needs and strengthen our business, as well as provide capital for our remodel efforts to convert all remaining mall stores into our new Studio concept. Initial test results for the Accessories business in our new concept stores are very exciting and we look forward to rolling out this concept soon. 

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