While the White House had no reaction to the sad news, it looks as if President Bush will have to find another place to buy his blazers -- unless he want to travel to Chevy Chase.
Arthur A. Adler, the longtime Washington men's clothier, is pulling up stakes downtown after 48 years and now will do business out of a single location on upper Wisconsin Avenue. The president frequently bought clothes at the Washington institution at 1805 L St. NW.
Owner and president John Adler said the 2,500-square-foot store was too expensive to maintain. He also blamed sales softness and an "overstored" retail environment. "The slice of the pie just keeps getting thinner," he said.
Retail analysts say part of Adler's downtown woes might have come from the proximity of newcomer J. Press, a national upscale men's clothing chain, reported to be doing excellent business near Adler's downtown store. New York-based Brooks Brothers also said it was doing fine at its L Street store, one of many in the region.
The latest closing continues a slide for the local chain. Adler closed a third store on F Street NW recently after only 18 months because of poor sales, and last year it moved its Connecticut Avenue store to the less visible L Street store.
Adler also was hard hit at Christmas, when it had to match larger stores' heavy discounting. The price cuts resulted in unprecedented 50-percent-off sales this spring, with ads saying, "Urgent Sale ... Must Raise Cash Immediately." Adler has now taken 35 percent off all clothing prices.
And rougher seas may be ahead. Barneys New York is scheduled to open its first Washington store next fall in the new Chevy Chase Pavilion down the road from Adler's store.
Many Washingtonians love Barneys so much they reportedly travel to New York to shop there. And retail analysts say its presence here further cuts the pie.
For local stores like Adler, possibly to a sliver.