Rue21 has filed for bankruptcy.

That doesn’t come as a surprise. The teen retailer’s woes have been well-documented. And just last month, the apparel chain said it would close 400 of its stores.

But in filing for Chapter 11 protection, the seller of casual clothes and apparel for young people has made it clear that survival is by no means assured.

In times like these, the folks at Checkout TrackingSM turn to the data for insights into what went wrong.

And in times like these, the data always has an answer: Rue21 hasn’t been able to generate sufficient loyalty among its shoppers.

Consider this:

  • Shoppers who purchased from Rue21 spent just 3.25 percent of their apparel wallet at the retailer.
  • The share of wallet that those same Rue21 buyers’ gave to Walmart was roughly five times greater.
  • Other major department stores like Target and Kohl’s also got higher percentages of the Rue21 buyers’ share of apparel spend.
  • By contrast, buyers at rival Aeropostale gave that chain roughly 6 percent of their apparel spend.
  • Buyers at Forever 21 spent approximately 5 percent of their apparel wallet at that chain.

The lesson here is clear. Loyalty is the metric that counts when times are tough.

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