Remember Filene’s Basement? It’s Back From the Grave, Virtually

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It’s been nearly four years since Filene’s Basement filed for bankruptcy, closed its doors, and joined the retail graveyard. But the designer and name brand discount retailer is back from the dead.

Shoppers can once again find discounted apparel, shoes, beauty items, bridal gowns and home goods at Filene’s Basement. But instead of perusing Filene’s store aisles for screaming deals and sale prices as shoppers did in the past, you’ll have to check out the goods online.

Filene’s Basement has been brought back to life as an online retailer by new owner Trinity Place Holdings Inc. has more than a million items for sale, according to Internet Retailer. The site also offers free shipping on all orders, regardless of purchase price.

Filene’s Basement is hoping to differentiate itself from other sites by offering personalization options for shoppers. Site visitors are encouraged to fill out a style survey, which is then used to develop a “my style” feed where shoppers can tailor the products they see based on several filters, which include gender, price and other preferences, IR explained.

“We’ve taken our time to carefully research the online retail space and communicate with our former faithful customers and soon to be new shoppers about their desired experience with our brand,” Trinity Place president and CEO Matt Messinger said in an interview with IR. “We believe the result will be the natural online evolution of that classic, one-of-a-kind Filene’s Basement shopping experience.”

But the now online-only discount retailer could face an uphill battle in attracting shoppers, Money said.

… the store faces a stiff fight ahead for American shoppers’ dollars. Filene’s heritage and name recognition give it an advantage over most newcomers, but whether that will be enough to carve a niche for itself in the crowded discount retailer market remains to be seen.

Shoppers who used to frequent the brick-and-mortar Filene’s stores have largely turned to TJX, which owns TJMaxx, Marshall’s and HomeGoods, Money said. The resurrected retailer also faces stiff competition from stores including Century 21, Nordstrom Rack, Gilt and HauteLook.

The online version of Filene’s Basement may also struggle to replicate what many shoppers loved about the old Filene’s – hunting and discovering a deal that they couldn’t pass up.

“Filene’s Basement — like other discount stores such as TJMaxx and Marshall’s or even warehouse clubs such as Sam’s Club — was a favorite of bargain-chasers who love to feel like they got a lucky break,” The Washington Post said. “It was a place for stumbling upon a fur overcoat that you didn’t know you wanted, or for pumping your fist in victory when you found the very last cashmere pullover in your size buried at the bottom of a bin.”

Perhaps best known for its bridal selection and its massive one-day Running of the Brides sale on wedding gowns, the online Filene’s does have a bridal section, but it currently has 17 bridal gowns in stock.

Did you shop at the brick-and-mortar Filene’s? Will you give its new online store a try? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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