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Posted on Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Hollister closes in Briarwood Mall; Athleta to open 1st Michigan store

By Erica Hobbs

Athleta, a clothing store specializing in women’s work-out wear, is taking over the space formerly occupied by Hollister at Ann Arbor’s Briarwood Mall.

Denise Murray, director of marketing and business development at Briarwood, said Hollister officially closed its doors Saturday after its lease came to an end.

She said Athleta will begin renovating the space this summer and expect to open in November or December.


The Hollister clothing store in Briarwood Mall has closed, and Athleta, which features trendy workout wear, is expected to open in November or December of this year in the same space. file photo

“I believe we’re bringing in exciting retail to add balance and give a little more variety to our retail mix,” she said. “We’ve been working very aggressively to improve the variety we have at the mall.”

The 7,527-square-foot space is located between Banana Republic and Ann Taylor in the Sears wing of the mall.

According to the press release, Athleta offers “stylish workout wear for the on-the-go woman," and is known for its "sweet, feminine designs for active lifestyles.” The company offers a range of athletic wear, including clothes for yoga, running, hiking, swimming, golf, tennis, cycling and general workout wear. It also offers swimwear, dresses, underwear, shorts, skirts, pants sweaters, jackets, shoes and accessories.

It is known for its “give-it-a-work-out” guarantee, which encourages customers to exercise in their new clothes and “Love it or return it. Anytime. Any reason.”

Athleta also offers in-store fitness classes and events, though details weren’t immediately available if and when those classes would be available at the Briarwood store.

“Ann Arbor is a city that cares about health and fitness, and this store will be a great addition for the women in the community,” Murray said in a press release. “They will be able to be comfortable and look amazing as they live their active lifestyles.”

Athleta is headquartered in Petaluma, Cali., and is part of the Gap company, also of which includes Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and INTERMIX. It was founded in 1998 and acquired by the Gap in 2008, according to its website. It has more than 40 stores in the United States, though the Briarwood store will be its first in Michigan.

Gap Inc., based in San Francisco, reported first quarter net sales of $3.73 billion in May, up 7 percent from the year before and reported May sales 11 percent higher than last year.

Hollister is headquartered in New Albany, Ohio and is part of Abercrombie & Fitch which also owns abercrombie kids and Gilly Hicks. The company reported first quarter net sales of $838.8 million, which is down 9 percent from last year and an 18 percent decrease in total sales for its Hollister brand. The Briarwood store was one of 15 in the state.



Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:44 p.m.

Briarwood Mall is an overall depressing place with poor lighting, few shoppers, and many stores targeting teens and 20-somethings. Not to mention the revolving door of stores closing, opening, closing, etc. The kiosks keep us out of there. Who wants to have someone literally jump out in front of you as you are walking along and aggressively shout in your face about some product. This is like a market in a 3rd world country, and makes the shopping experience very negative. The parking lot and surrounding roads are crumbling and full of potholes.

Susan Ursus

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:07 a.m.

Ugh, hate those kiosks.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Now that we got rid of Hollister, and their shoddy merchandise, lets get rid of Abercrombie & Fitch and their crappy attitude. I give Athleta a year, and they will fold. Their main clothing line only goes up to size 16, with very few 1 or 2X styles. Therefore the women that need the emotional boost to look good when they are working out, are out of luck.

An Arborigine

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

Dare I say that if one is larger than a size 16' one should consider clothing from another purveyor.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

"Hollister clothing store has close to bring Athleta, a collection of trendy workout-wear. Officials expect the shop to open in November or Deember of this tear." Goodness... I count three errors... did I miss any?


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Is there any proofreading prior to publishing? This seems to be a constant issue.

Julie Baker

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

We've fixed the typos in the caption. Thanks.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

What month is "Deember" in? maybe just after "December"?


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

Ah, they used spellcheck and fixed it. way to go!


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Hope they help to spruce up the mall a bit. Briarwood has been looking dated for quite a while now.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Did they get rid of the kiosks?

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

I did notice renovations are well underway. @A2JetSet - here is a story about those plans:

Responsible Citizen

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:36 p.m.

You obviously haven't been there for a while. They've been working hard, both inside and out, to update and renovate.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

I'm in that crowd excited to see Athleta come to town (not necessarily Briarwood tho) I'd also like to see a Lucy store, but I don't mind driving to Novi or Birminham.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:22 p.m.

I love, Lucy! I always visit when I go to downtown Birmingham.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

Good riddance. I only tried to go to Hollister once, and it was for my brother. He's in a wheelchair and obviously couldn't get up the stairs to the door. I asked if they had a handi door and the employee just pointed. Finally found it, but it was blocked by tables on the inside. I'm glad we couldn't go in and I am not sad at all to see them go.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3 p.m.

I have a teenaged daughter, wears size 2, lives in either jeans or shorts, so you would think Hollister would be a place she would shop. But no -- the choices are too limited, going all out with super low rise, lots of "distressed" denim on one hand, or covered with bling or lace on the other. She doesn't even bother with them or A&F anymore because shopping time is precious, and why waste it on stores not catering to you? She acts like I've lost my mind when I ask if she checked there after she claims that no one had any decent jeans, can we go to Somerset?


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3:53 p.m.

smart girl


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

I am SO incredibly excited for Athleta to be coming to Ann Arbor! I purchase a lot of my workout wear from Athleta, as it is high quality and lasts for a very long time (and not see through as many of the cheaper brands stock). I will definitely be a customer.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Very interesting. Now we'll have both lululemon and Athleta in town. I went to both stores in Chicago in June and they were packed to the brim.


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

I hope people choose Athleta over Lululemon. Those of us who like to actually work out and do it at the Rec Center are concerned about traffic from that new shopping complex.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:37 p.m.

Great, @flyonthewall! I'll email you an update.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 6:52 p.m.

Lizzy, switching gears. How does your garden grow?

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:20 p.m.

Yes, on one hand, you have the Washtenaw traffic, but on the other, some people think of Briarwood as more of a hassle since you have to enter the mall. As for the products, although they are both "higher-end" athletic gear and have crossover customers, I think there are some differences. Lululemon attracts a wider age range, from young teens to older adults. Athleta tends to attract an older clientele. Actually, when I was on vacation last week, my 12-year-old cousin told me that all the girls in her middle school are wearing lululemon these days. The company launched a girls clothing line - Ivviva Athletica - for 6 to 12 year olds. Not that I'm addicted to workout clothing or anything...


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Was thinking same thing but Athleta may get the "i don't want to go anywhere near that washtenaw mess" people on the Briarwood side of town.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

"I believe we're bringing in exciting retail" Interesting. Even when I was a teen and went to the mall a lot, I never thought of retail as exciting.

An Arborigine

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

That's marketing speak for "justifying my salary"


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

Athleta is opening in Briarwood?? Shut up and take my money!


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Is Hollister the one where you can barely find the entrance, not well-lit and pumps out headache inducing fumes? If so, good riddance. Athleta will probably do okay, but Briarwood will never be more that "meh" until it gets a real Nordstrom.


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 1:56 a.m.

I guess you'll be taking M-14 to I-275 to I-96.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

That's Abercrombie & Fitch that pumps out the smell.

Keith Hafner

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

We've been part time tenants at Briarwood for over two years. Hats off to Denise Murray and her staff. Because of her vision and dedication, Briarwood is a thriving place. Haven't been there for a while? Check it out for yourself!

Susan Ursus

Thu, Jul 11, 2013 : 12:05 a.m.

But seriously, what *is* all the fuss about Keith Hafner's Karate?


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Thriving place? Are you kidding me? I've been in that mall about a dozen times in the last 5 months and other than Apple and Macys the place is empty. I don't know how these any of these stores make money, especially Sears. I suspect as others have pointed out it is the high prices which of course is partially driven by high rents charged by the "Briarwood ownership." The other true annoyance is the traffic to get anywhere near Briarwood. Too much local development has aggravated this situation.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

wow. that's disappointing.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

A step in the right direction. Now just get rid of American Eagle to rid that hallway of the toxic fumes. At least with Hollister gone we can breathe a little easier...


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

American Eagle is definitely more "down to earth" when it comes to popular mall stores. Their clothes run much bigger and they dont try to sell to the "cool kids" like A&F and HCO try to. Their clothes are universal to everyone.

Responsible Citizen

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

To Obvious Comment: Considering the fact that you didn't know the difference between the two stores, I don't think it's fair to condemn AE and put it in the same class as Abercrombie. They don't spray perfume out in the corridor and as far as pressuring young people to sexualize themselves, I don't believe AE does that. I've been in AE to buy jeans for my youngest (age 26) and didn't find anything offensive about the store. I think it's unfair to say, "they're all the same."


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3:50 p.m.

Oh sorry, I get all those stores confused. They all pump toxic fumes and put pressure on young people to sexualize themselves and pursue an unrealistic body image. They're all the same and I won't give my money to any of them.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

AE isn't the stinky store. That's Abercrombie.

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

Not as long as Abercrombie is still there ... I think of that smell as "parent repellent."


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

DBs'R'US closed?


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

"Ann Arbor is a city that cares about health and fitness, and this store will be a great addition for the women in the community," Murray said in a press release. "They will be able to be comfortable and look amazing as they live their active lifestyles." Now a word from your NON-sponsor: But if you want to be active and don't need expensive clothes. You can wear KMart sweat suits. Just keep moving.


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 1:50 a.m.

We don't lack retail places to buy workout clothes and that includes places where we can do other errands, too. At Meijers we can also buy healthy produce. Other places to buy exercise and other clothes are near grocery stores, post offices, and places where we work out. On top of that, the Briarwood place for clothes to sweat in, there will soon be another such place in the new shopping area on Washtenaw, near the Rec Center. Spend less on the clothes because gym fees may be going up. The other part of buying workout clothes is to have a place to work out.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 5:12 p.m.

Mady and Paula, Yup. If I am going to sweat, I sure don't want to sweat on my GOOD clothes! :-) But yes, I see some pretty nicely dressed folks shopping at the Salvation Army Store. Smart Peeps!


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

Cash, totally agree. I buy my clothing almost exclusively at resale stores(see: value world). Briarwood can sink into the earth and if it ever does, I'll do a jig on the rubble!


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3:26 p.m.

For some of the young people being hip and stylish gives enough boost to encourage working out. Whatever keeps people moving is good. Target suits this old lady.

Jack Gladney

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

To quote the erstwhile prodigal son, Charles Babbitt, "KMart sucks, Ray."

Paula Gardner

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:28 p.m.

Very true! I get the Athleta catalogs, and the items looks great. But I'm pretty happy with my "down-scale" and affordable Old Navy knock-offs.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 10:08 a.m.

I'd like to think that the Hollister closing means that people have wised up and realized that it's ridiculous to pay too much for crappy T-shirts that are designed solely as advertising to get other people to pay too much for crappy T-shirts, but given the number of people I still see walking around in those crappy T-shirts, that's probably too much to hope for.

sun runner

Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Don't forget those are $60 authentically pre-distressed jeans!! Pro Tip: check out the jeans selection at the loca thrift store. I decided I would never pay full price for new jeans again when I found designer and other top-brand labels on the rack at the Salvation Army for less than $10.


Tue, Jul 9, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Wait, you don't like buying pre-ruined jeans with holes in them?