THE RETAIL APOCALYPSE IS SHUTTING DOWN FLAGSHIP STORES

It used to be considered the retailer's crown jewel — a large format store on a swank corridor that showed off the best of what a brand had to offer. But now the so-called flagship store is disappearing from high-profile shopping thoroughfares like Manhattan's Madison Avenue and Chicago's Magnificent Mile because of skyrocketing rents and the shift to online shopping. Over the last year or so, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Lord & Taylor and Polo Ralph Lauren have closed their flagship stores on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue. Abercrombie announced in May that it was closing three more of its big locations Still, flagship stores aren't dead. Many retailers like Nike and Levi are embracing new versions that beckon shoppers with less merchandise and more high-tech experiences.