We went shopping at a Charlotte Russe store the day before it closed forever, and it was a depressing bargain bonanza

Áine Cain / Business InsiderIt was a depressing sight.
  • Charlotte Russe is in the process of liquidating.
  • I visited a store in Williamsburg, Virginia, on the day before it closed permanently.
  • The store was a mess, and the products were selling for ridiculously cheap prices.

Charlotte Russe is closing its doors permanently.

The company filed for liquidation earlier in March, joining the ranks of retailers that have gone bankrupt in 2019. This means that all of its 426 stores around the United States will close, and that over 8,700 Charlotte Russe employees will lose their jobs, according to USA Today.

Read more: Charlotte Russe is closing all of its stores. We visited the retailer the day it filed it for bankruptcy and saw how it’s fallen behind its fast-fashion rivals.

It also means that shoppers across America are getting the chance to pick at the carcass of the 44-year-old clothing retailer, as it attempts to sell off its remaining merchandise.

On a trip down to Virginia this weekend, I became one such shopper. My friend’s a fan of Charlotte Russe’s jeans, so we headed over to a nearby store to check out the closing sale.

Here’s what we saw:


On Sunday, my friend and I swung by the Charlotte Russe store in Williamsburg, Virginia. She wanted to look into its going-out-of-business-sale.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderWe hit up the Charlotte Russe in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Our timing turned out to be pretty good.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThat’s me in the reflection.

We arrived on the last day before this particular store shuttered forever.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe store is now closed forever.

And while a leftover sign indicated that the deals in the preceding days had been pretty sweet …

Áine Cain / Business InsiderCharlotte Russe is in the process of liquidating.

… the bargains we encountered were intense.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderPrices were slashed in the store we visited.

Walking in, I was struck by how deserted the store felt, despite the flock of customers.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe space seemed bigger because it was so empty.

Charlotte Russe was one of my go-to stores when I was a teen, so the sight of bare walls and metal racks was jarring.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe store was totally stripped down.

The store retained a few glimmers of better times. Seeing the cheerful pink savings wheel amidst all the empty racks bummed me out.

Áine Cain / Business Insider

Feeling old and sad, I started making my way around the store.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI took a break to snap an awkward mirror selfie.

First up, I checked out the clothes. When it came to tops and dresses, there was only about one circular rack of heavy sweaters and wintry dresses left.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe remaining styles were decidedly wintry.

And the jean racks had been picked through, too. Most of the remnants were smaller sizes. My friend remarked that maybe this was an indicator of a disparity between the sizes American shoppers wear and the sizes that stores stock.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThere was a limited selection of jeans.

The store’s shoe section was particularly busy, with plenty of shoppers poring over $US5 flats …

Áine Cain / Business InsiderAll of these shoes were just $US5 per pair.

… and the swiftly dwindling heap of shoe boxes, organised by size.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderSome of the options piqued my interest, but I’m not big on heels.

Each of these pairs also went for just $US5.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI scoured the store’s shoe selection.

There were also a handful of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings left over, although someone had gone around and sniped a number of the hoop earrings.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI noticed a few solo hoop earrings that were missing their twin.

I saw a few pieces that I liked.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI couldn’t pass up on a necklace that featured a St. Therese of Lisieux medallion.

And I decided to grab some baubles for the road. The handful of jewellery ended up only costing me $US3.42.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderMy purchase came out to $US3.42.

But accessories and apparel weren’t the only thing on sale. Mannequins, racks, and shelving all had price tags, too.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderMuch of the equipment was also for sale.

There were even cleaning products spread out in the open, although I’m not sure whether or not those were for sale.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderParts of the store were quite cluttered with supplies.

Business Insider reporter Mary Hanbury wrote about encountering a horde of nude, grey mannequins in a Manhattan Charlotte Russe …

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe mannequins were a bit spooky.

Source: Business Insider


… and the Williamsburg store was no different. The effect was pretty eerie.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderSome of the mannequins were missing the top portion of their bodies.

Let’s just say I wouldn’t want to get locked in alone here at night.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe mannequins were for sale, too.

While the front of the store was empty aside from a few racks, the back section behind the checkout desk was a cluttered mess.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThere were a lot of office supplies out in the open.

A wall of cardboard boxes divided the space …

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI took an accidental mirror selfie next to the wall of boxes.

… and bordered a maze of shelves and tables.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI was curious to see if anyone would buy a table or a shelving unit.

The floor was also pretty dirty. Not that anyone cared. The employees were busy handling the closing sale, after all.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderSomebody tracked some mud into the store.

You could hardly expect them to obsess over cleaning a store that would be closed in a few hours,

Áine Cain / Business InsiderI snuck a peek into the employees’ backroom.

At that point, my friend and I wrapped up our browsing and got in line. My friend ended up buying shoes, hair accessories, bracelets, and makeup. The six products cost just $US9.10 in total.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderHere’s my friend’s haul.

There was a decent-sized line to check out, but the clerks kept everything moving along quickly. I asked the friendly cashier who rang me up about how the day was going.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderCustomers visited the store to take advantage of its closing sale.

She indicated that it had been a good level of busy for most of the day; products were selling, but the employees weren’t overwhelmed.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderThe store wasn’t packed, but it did attract a steady stream of customers.

The cashier was also sure to note that, given that Charlotte Russe is going out of business, there wouldn’t be an opportunity to return any of my purchases in the future.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderCharlotte Russe filed to liquidate earlier in March.

I was happy to walk away with a bag of cheap jewellery, but watching a company that I’d grown up with flatline in real time was a gloomy experience.

Áine Cain / Business InsiderFarewell, Charlotte Russe.

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