Store Wars 2013 – Who’s on the bubble?

Make a case for why these stores should get in the tourney.

We’re one week away from the tournament getting underway.  Well yes, that other one too, but we’re talking about Store Wars here.  16 retailers enter the bracket, with one champion eventually being crowned.  Your votes decide every day which store moves on, as well as which one gets the red slash o’ death, and thus relegated to the dustbin of competitive retail history until next year.

The bracket for our 3rd annual Store Wars competition gets released on Monday March 18th, with the first #1 vs #8 seed matchup taking place the following day.  The selection committee is already hard at work.  But with a couple of new stores deserving a place on the bracket this year, the competition to just make the tournament is fierce.  The following are all retailers who are sitting on the bubble, in danger of not getting in.  Who deserves a spot?  Who doesn’t?  Make your case in the comments.

Indochino Bubble

Why are they on the bubble?  The former FINALIST from 2011 (they campaigned hard over social media) is still strong among its fans, but their detractors are still out there and loud.  They’re starting to get squeezed on both the high and low end of the price range, with Suitsupply being the default for many looking to splurge, and J. Crew Factory’s Thompson line being favored by those on a tight budget.  Plus, it continues to be a bit of a risk ordering from them (there are plenty of horror stories/pics on the web), specifically the fact that their tailors sometimes inexplicably chop their jackets awfully short.

Previous Store Wars Experience: Finalist in 2011, Bounced easily in the 1st round in 2012.



Why are they on the bubble?  The better looking and better fitting version of L.L. Bean continues to churn out authentically rugged gear that’s easy on the eyes… but there’s just not a lot of variety.  Quality over quantity though, right?  They don’t take many risks, which is more than fine, but they seem to make lots of goods that are downright… plain?  Their blazers and suit separates have a tendency to run long in the arms, and come with functioning button cuffs.  That makes for a tailoring nightmare.

Previous Store Wars Experience: Lost in the 1st round in 2011, as well as 2012.


CM Bubble

Why are they on the bubble?  One of those retailers where most of us just have to stick to the sale section (or wait for an extra 30% off sale items code, then still stick to the sale section).  Only started doing e-commerce in late March of last year, so many don’t have that much experience with them.  And while they’ve produced some amazing looking stuff in the past, a $400 floral print men’s sweater is one hell of a head scratcher.

Previous Store Wars Experience:  Has not competed.


Uniqlo Bubble

Why are they on the bubble?  The Japanese retail giant finally hit the web with e-commerce in 2012 to much fanfare and then… well… hey, they make a hell of a cheap topcoat.  Blazers can be chopped in the tail and the button stance can drift high.  Fits can be a little wonky.  Prices are dirt cheap, but the quality can sometimes disappoint.

Previous Store Wars Experience: Has not competed.


Express Bubble

Why are they on the bubble?  Seems like the one piece of clothing they don’t slap a logo on is their 1MX shirts.  And many prefer the quality of a BR Stretch Shirt over the 1MX.  In store experience is… eeesh.  Little bright, little young, little loud.  Can be sneaky good for affordable summer cotton suits and blazers.

Previous Store Wars Experience:  Lost in the first round in 2011.  Did not compete in 2012.


Zara Bubble

Why are they on the bubble?  The global leader in quick turnaround “fast fashion” can sometimes produce things that look and feel a little rushed (imagine that).  Leans trendy too.  Many of their models have that slumpy wispy Topman thing going on.  While their jackets fit nice and trim, the blazers can end up short.

Previous Store Wars Experience:  Has not competed.



Why are they on the bubble?  STILL not doing e-commerce, and while they’ve got a good sized footprint for brick & mortar stores in the U.S., they’re not everywhere.  Some of their products can be steals.  Others seem to really struggle when it comes to quality.  Like Zara, they can lean a little trendy.  Even when it comes to basics.

Previous Store Wars Experience:  Has not competed.

Thoughts from you guys?  Which, if any of these stores deserves a spot in this year’s tournament?  Any other stores on the bubble worth a mention?  Leave your take in the comments below.  For reference, here’s the final bracket from last year, as well as the final bracket from 2011.  Bubble Photo Credit: Rhett Maxwell