Retailer: “Harvard Square is Not a Shopping Destination Anymore”

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Harvard Square (Photo: Wikimedia)

CAMBRIDGE, MA–LF, a fashion retailer based in Los Angeles, Calif., has closed its Harvard Square store in Cambridge after operating at its Church Street location for seven years, The Harvard Crimson reported.

“The store’s closure comes as other businesses on Church Street have seen decreased foot traffic and shuttered as well. Shannon Lebherz, the former manager of LF Harvard Square, attributed the store’s departure to recent changes in the makeup of the Square’s business offerings,” the newspaper said.

“What contributed to us leaving were stores like us leaving the Square, too,” Crimson quoted Lebherz as saying. “Free People, Urban Outfitters, American Apparel — they’re all gone. Harvard Square is not a shopping destination anymore.”

LF’s departure is the newest addition to the list of stores — including Urban Outfitters, Chipotle, Starbucks, and Au Bon Pain — that have exited the Square in recent months. Several of the stores have cited development acquisitions as the rationale behind their closings, according to Crimson.

Crimson quoted Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, as citing that decreased foot traffic in the wake of the Harvard Square Theater’s closing in 2012 as a reason for the commercial turnover in the Church Street area.

“It goes back to what we know about the theater and our concern about that building…being dark for such a long time. The theater closed in July of ’12, we’re coming up on July of ’19, and it’s estimated that there are 1,000 fewer people on Church Street every day,” Jillson said.