Fate of Chadwick’s of Boston business in jeopardy

The parent company of 28-year-old catalog retailer Chadwick’s of Boston involuntarily filed for bankruptcy in June, leaving the fate of Chadwick’s and sister apparel brands Casual Living and metrostyle in jeopardy.  

Women’s Apparel Group, which operates as Boston Apparel Group, was forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy by several creditors seeking an estimated $52.8 million. Three creditors — NL Ventures VII United, La Vita Inc., and Your Label Inc. — are looking for $52.4 million, $15,686, and $360,863, respectively.

Boston Apparel, which specializes in selling value-priced apparel and accessories, is owned by private equity firm Monomoy Capital Partners. Monomoy formed the company when it purchased the missy division of Redcats USA in 2008.

Since then, Boston Apparel has exited its Closeout Catalog Outlet operations (which offered Chadwick’s and metrostyle merchandise at deeper discounts), shuttered its West Bridgewater warehouse, and laid off hundreds of employees at its headquarters and warehouse locations. Boston Apparel points to the economic downturn and subsequent stalled sales for its significant financial woes.

While it looks like Boston Apparel’s business is unfolding in liquidation, the company had made a last ditch effort to widen its customer base and seek strategic alternatives. Looking to expand Boston Apparel’s products portfolio and create a more diverse customer base, Monomoy in 2010 purchased clothing retailer Casual Living, which boasts direct-mail catalogs and a website. The deal, which represented Boston Apparel’s first add-on acquisition, was aimed at attracting women between the ages of 45 and 60 – a growing demographic — to supplement its existing target audience of women in the 25-55 age range. As recently as early 2011 Boston Apparel also enlisted the help of Fianco Securities to search for additional funding or a buyer.

I’m hoping when the dust settles that Beantown gets to keep its namesake Chadwick’s.

Catherine Colbert

Tracking the moves of consumer products makers since 2003, Colbert is a company insights writer and blogger. Before covering companies, she spent ample time in magazine publishing, technical writing, ad copywriting, medical writing, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter.

Read more articles by Catherine Colbert.

Comments

  1. As I stated ealier, spread the news to all your facebook, twitter and any other social media groups to stay away and not order from Chadwicks, MetroStyle or Casual Living. You will never see your money back. It’s GONE! A tough lessoned learned. Now go out to your local small business and support them by buying their clothes and helping locals become the Davids in this Goliath economy. Enough said!

  2. This/these company(s) is definitely bad news..no product, no refund. Customer no service lies and thats only if you can get through to someone. They stole from me also. The sooner they fold completely the better.

  3. Maybe if Chadwick’s didn’t charge such high shipping they might have more business. I like a lot of things in their catalog but some are just not worth it because of the shipping!

  4. Did not realize there is a problem with Chadwicks but it might explain why I am having problems getting my account straightened out for a purchase/return from Oct 2011. I have been provided 5 different phone numbers and cannot reach anyone. After spending an hour on the phone the other day I finally reached a rep through their ridiculous automation who was for purchases and discussed the problem only to find out they have no record of the purchase and/or return and advised me to fax information to a Rose Tinsley. It’s no surprise the fax number provided is not a fax number but indeed is a real number that no one answers. It’s a shame because I have had an account for some time and never had any issues until now and unfortunately a $30.00 return has turned into a $91.00 problem for me and taking up way too much of my time.

  5. Shopped with Chadwick’s since the mid ’80s. The new company (Distinctive Apparel) operating under Chadwick’s name may be capitalizing on confusion by engaging in unscrupulous business practices and shipping items never ordered and charging credit card. Credit card company (WFNNB) may also be going bankrupt and asks for your social security number through automation before you can even talk to a rep! Never got through… Too bad I’m just learning this information today. Wish I had known!

  6. Tonya Slone says:

    I wish I would have found this out before the holidays. I like Chadwicks or liked Chadwicks because they carried tall clothing. I ordered two suits back in November. I received one of the suits with an extra pair of pants about a week before Christmas. I was told that one of the suits would be on backorder until the first week of January – it is now January 20th – still no suit. I sent the extra pair back, and spoke with a representative to correct the original order. I felt like I was speaking to the wall! It’s a shame that many of their customers will probably never, ever see their refunds or orders. I should have kept the extra pair of pants!

  7. Now I see why I have not gotton a credit for $138.46. I returned the products abd they recieved them UPS on 09/19/2011. So much for stealing your money.

  8. I’ve bee shopping with Chadwicks sinc 1994. Last Friday, February 3rd, I placed and order #W219666 on the phone. I had the girl at Chadwicks of Boston who took the order read the total to me with discounts and shipping. It came to $68.99. The next day I received a confermation e-mail. The order number was V21966660001. The bill was $92.98. I e-mailed for an immediate correction. I phoned immediately too! That department was closed till Monday. First thing on Monday I phoned Chadwicks and requested the proper adjustment. They said they would take care of it immediately. Today is Friday, February 10th. Nothing but another promise that it would be taken care of and I should check on Monday. I placed an order for $68.99. To overbill me like that is plain old STEALING.

  9. No wonder Chadwick’s is going under. I just had a terrible customer service experience with them. The customer service rep kept interrupting me and raised his voice at me. I will NEVER shop there again!!!

  10. I ordered a leather coat from Metrostyle in November for $99 plus tax and shipping. I was charged and returned the coat but it was the wrong size that they shipped to me. I returned it and it was received on 12/10/11 at 10:38AM in the warehouse. I placed another order for 4 items for a total of $230 plus tax and shipping. I received two items, one was the incorrect item which I returned. I have called numerous times and after being on hold for 25-40 minutes was hold that the leather coat would be credited as soon as the warehouse post it. It is now 2/15/12 and they still have not post it therefore I cannot get a refund. I am still waiting for the other three items which my credit card was charged. I was told that they were shipped out on 1/12/12. I have no idea where Metrostyle is sending it to you but it must be another country since I live in NYC and the store is in Boston, a five hour drive. The warehouse is in Connecticut, a hour from NYC in traffic.

    I guess they stole my $300 so they deserve to go under and get no financial help. THE COMPANY, METROSTYLE AND CHADWICK OF BOSTON ARE THIEVES AND LIARS.
    I WILL NEVER BUY FROM THEM AGAIN.

  11. A similar thing happened to me. I ordered two tall suits. When the delivery came, I only got one suit even though both were listed on the shipping order. I called immediately to report the issue. I have been promised the suit was shipped or that I would get a refund in the multiple times that I have called them since November. I guess I will stop wasting my time. It’s a shame since I really enjoyed shopping with them previously. They’ll never rebuild their business this way.

    If you made your purchase with a credit card company, call them and dispute the charge. We should all also make complaints to the Better Business Bureau and anywhere else that you can report fraud.

  12. This company deserves to go under since they are stealing from me and other customers. I ordered 4 items and only 3 were shipped but got charged for 4.
    I hope the court issues some kind of fine or penalty for deceiving the public.

  13. They deserve to go out overpricing for cheaply made clothes that don’t fit.Billing for items not sent hard to get good customer service.Leather coats have cheap buttons that break or come loose after a few times you wear it.Boots were only decent item .Way overpriced shipping costs as well as some of the clothes .Vinyl raincoats that never kept you dry.Good riddance.

  14. I just received a catalog from Chadwicks in the mail. I thought, “Boy, it has been a while since I got one of these.” Looking through it, I realized the paper is cheap and the variety of clothing I used to find in my size (2X) just isn’t there anymore. I assume they must have been bought out by another company. Quality often slides when good brands are bought out (ie. Liz Claiborne/Elizabeth) I was about to go online to check out the website, when it occurred to me to Google – just in case. I am SOOOOO happy I found these posts. If I found something online, I might have placed an order. Much to my regret I gather from what is stated here.

  15. I wish I had read all this a while back. I have been a customer of Chadwicks for years also and never had problems until now. I ordered a skirt which didn’t fit so I returned it, using THEIR label within a week. They said that they didn’t get it until 2 days AFTER the 30 day return policy. However, they charged me $6.50 to use “their label”. I had originally charged this on my chadwicks credit card but the company issued me a store merchandise credit for $15.95 less than the original charge. I didn’t find out about this until I accrued late fees on my acct. It is a HUGE mess and now I have NO skirt and I owe the credit card company $92.82. What a ripoff!! They deserve whatever they get!!

    I agree with Daryl, I am going to dispute the charge and also report them to the Better Business Bureau! We should all do this and perhaps we CAN make a difference!

  16. Someone from Chadwicks just called and tried to get me to buy certain items such as restaurant coupons, gas coupons, etc. The second person I spoke to was a man and he wanted my whole credit card number. You know where he can go as far as I am concerned. This got me so mad. They asked me a couple of times for my credit card number. This gets me very mad. I’m not done with them!

  17. Well, this explains why the four catalogs I requested online and by phone never came. I started filling out the online catalog request form last fall and no catalog ever arrived. I called the post office, I placed another three requests…nothing. I finally called the toll-free number and the rep said they’d get one out in the mail. That never came. Yesterday I got a thin, flimsy catalog in the mail and knew something was up. These catalogs used to come like clockwork. I looked at the company name and knew Chadwick’s was bought out. I’m glad I checked on line to confirm before placing an order.

  18. I have an outstanding return/credit from last year that I am still waiting on. When I called about it I was given the run around. Finally a rep told me that they were going bankrupt and once the new company took over that I would receive a credit in the mail for the new company. Needless to say, I am still waiting…and very frustrated with Chadwicks!

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  21. Yes – I lost 139.99 from an order back in the fall of 2011. It has been Hell trying to even talk to a person on the phone. Finally got a merchandise refund in the mail, which the new owners say is all they can do – then tried to spend it online ordering, and it was kicked out as invalid!!!! Have you all filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office, the BBB and anyone else who will accept complaints?

    Someone in “Customer Service” last night finally took my order over the phone, but today when I checked my order status on the website, there is no record of my order.

    I am going to call again tomorrow morning when I am not so angry – but this has GOT TO STOP!!!!!! I am just trying to spend the $ they owe be and be done with them. Starting to look like they have ripped me off also.

    I would also urge everyone to never order from Chadwicks. Let the new owners Distinctive Apparel go bankrupt too – they deserve it for the way they are (not) handling things. The poorest example of customer service i have EVER experienced.

  22. dorothy says:

    Too bad. Hating to go shopping, I have depended on Chadwick’s through the years, but with all these bad reports, I will never order from them again even if they do manaage to miraculously resurrect themselves.

  23. Omg! Just found all this information while looking for the name and address of the CEO of Chadwicks! I returned two swimsuits back in January 2012 and have yet to be credited for them but sure and getting billed late fees! Nobody from collections to catalog to resilutions specialist seem to know what is going on!I am now in “dispute” with Chadwicks over this bill!

  24. carol cordaro says:

    Do not buy from this company. I purchase some items and returned everything and I still being charged 81.43 After reading all these posts I just going to pay and live with it. I will let everyone know do not buy from this company.

  25. carol wilson says:

    I purchased 2 gift cards @ $100.00 each over a 6 month period for my mother who lives in a nursing home. She saved the first one and when the 2nd card arrived she placed her order via phone. When she supplied them the method of payment, she was told the cards were no good…..When I called, I can’t begin to tell you how rude they were while informing me of the same.
    I was a Chadwicks customer for at least 20 years..What I find amazing is we continue to get catalogs, email offerings and invitations to purchase Gift Cards..
    Does anybody know if there is a Class Action against them?
    I would suggest any newcomers to this ‘scam’ (because that is what it is now), if you did not get what you paid for, call your credit card and tell them you want to place this line item on your bill into dispute…

  26. I was always a loyal customer to Chadwicks. But I’ve noticed that over the last 3 yrs. every aspect concerning ordering merchandise has gone downhill. After a battle with a backordered item a couple of months ago, I told them to take me off of their mailing list. They said that they would do it immediately. Now 2 months later I receive a new catalogue. Trying to put my trust in them again, I found the perfect dress for my son’s wedding. I ended up ordering it Sept. 24 online and it said it was backordered until Sept. 25. Thinking it was going out the next day, I called to make sure. Sure enough it was now backordered until Oct. 5. I had 2 reps confirm and guarantee that it would go out Oct. 5, because it was for my son’s wedding. I called Oct. 8 (today) to confirm it went out. Now it’s backordered until Oct. 12. I kept asking to talk to a manager and they said all they could do was transfer me to customer service. approx. 30 min. later I was able to talk to a live person, who was rude and kept talking over me. There was nothing she could do and if they shipped it on Oct. 12, she didn’t even know if they could compensate me by having it shipped express. I asked for the manufacturer’s name and she told me Boston Apparel Group. When I got online, I found out about the bankruptcy and all of these complaints. Wow, was I stupid for trusting them again! Not much more time to look for another dress for my son’s wedding. I doubt if this dress will ever come.

  27. Catherine Colbert Catherine Colbert says:

    Lexanne, I hope you find a dress that’s absolutely beautiful and one that makes up for the unfortunate experience.

  28. D. Turnbull says:

    I originally started ordering goods from Chadwick back in the the early 90′s. It had been a while since re-ordering.

    I ordered some items between the 18/19 September and its almost a month later and I have not received the items.

    I chose the option Express Delivery so that the items would arrive in a week. I noticed soon after placing the order that the shipping method had been changed to standard delivery which takes 20 business days to arrive in the United States Virgin Islands. Normal mail from the US Mainland normally takes about a week and a half.

    I have sent emails and have not had any response and that is poor customer service. I will not order from them again.

    I have yet to see what is in the package upon its arrival.

  29. One Time Customer says:

    Very interesting thread. Just tried redeeming a $150 merchandise credit, which they shamefully issued instead of a cash refund, and it came up as invalid. After forwarding the credit notification email, I was emailed by a rep (no name or signature given) saying they could not varify the credit, due to bankruptcy, but would like to offer me 15% off my next purchase. I’m furious. Will definitely file through BBB, etc.

  30. I just went through what some of the others mentioned. I will try the better business bureau. I can’t find an address for their headquarters

  31. Catherine Colbert Catherine Colbert says:

    Hey Tara, this might be useful.
    https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started
    The company’s not BBC Accredited but here is its profile on BBB.
    http://www.bbb.org/boston/business-reviews/general-merchandise-retail/woman-s-apparel-group-in-randolph-ma-115483. Looks like you’re not alone.

  32. Chadwicks and Metrostyle apparently have no access to all the returned merchandise throughout their bankruptcy in 2011– so cannot resolve the problems. Was given a website to the case and a number
    but that is out of order–oops and the Website is non-conclusive.
    But I am still waiting for a return call from Epic on this.
    Will keep you posted.
    Supposedly all we “jilted” have a right to be included in the creditors or such.
    To me it sounds like a lot of doubletalk- but am not giving up yet.

  33. I too, had a little trouble getting a complete refund, but they finally did get square with me. I had no idea this was going on, but feel very fortunate that I got my money back. I’ve ordered from them for years also and this last order was below their usual standards and I sent all back but 1 pair of slacks. Was about to place another order then came across this site – thank goodness, I’ll not order from them anymore. Hope everyone gets their money back.. this is a disgrace.

  34. Susan Strauser says:

    I too experienced the worse customer service ever. I had an order shipped to my work address and they left off the street number and name so my order out returned. The customer service rep kind of giggled and said that happens all the time.
    I was shocked. No apology just a giggle. I will never order from them again.

  35. Just about to make an order thanks to all comments save me time and money.

  36. Thanks everyone– glad I found this site. I’ve been searching for years for high-waisted long slacks and finally found a style that might work for me at Chadwick’s. I was going to order them. Not know after hearing from all of you!

  37. Debra Dsyon says:

    I placed an order with Chadwicks back in June for 4 pairs of shows and 2 dresses. When order arrived I only received 2 pairs of shoes and 2 dresses and statement had overcharged me for everything. The shoes were supposed to be on sale for $19.99; Chadwicks charged my credit card $25.99 each; dresses were also on sale but I was charged regular prices. I returned the shoes and 1 dress for a larger size. I received back the shoes but no dress. When I called I was told that the difference would be refunded to my credit card, that has not happened. I had figured that Chadwicks owed me a total of $49.99. I finally received a check in the amount of $20.01. Where is the rest of my refund? I will NEVER order from Chadwicks again! Merchandise was fine but customer service was downright disgusting and they had the nerve to tell me that I was not understanding the situation. What’s to understand? You got my money and I got no merchandise or refund. I’m still upset and I want my money so I’m not giving up yet!

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