By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A major clothing brand could soon disappear from North America.

It looks like business as usual at the Esprit clothing store on Walnut near 18th. Winter fashions are displayed in the storefront windows. But amid a 98-percent drop in profits in the last fiscal year, the company has announced a major overhaul that includes ending its operations in North America.

Esprit was wildly popular with teenagers in the 1980s, but the company CEO said in a statement in recent years “the heritage of the brand has been neglected and the company lost its customer focus.”

The company is closing or selling 93 North American stores, to focus its efforts on rebuilding its brand in Europe and China. Esprit also plans to create a new unit for denim — a lower-cost fashion option for tough economic times. No word on a timetable for how long the Esprit brand will remain around here.

Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio

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