Brooks Brothers to leave Wichita

WICHITA — It appears Brooks Brothers is going to be leaving Wichita as quietly as it entered the market.

“I can confirm that our Wichita store will close at the end of this month as we have decided not to renew our lease,” e-mailed Arthur Wayne, vice president of global public relations, in response to a phone call.

He declined a follow-up e-mail request for an interview to elaborate on the decision.

Have You Heard? first reported Brooks Brothers would be coming to the Waterfront development at 13th and Webb in February 2006.

No one with the company confirmed it until a couple of days before the store opened.

The chain, which calls itself the “country’s oldest clothing retailer,” was the Waterfront’s first national retail tenant. It took the development’s prominent domed retail space with 7,651 square feet.

The broker who handled the deal said the company initially planned a Brooks Brothers 346, which isn’t quite as upscale as a traditional Brooks Brothers store. That was before top executives visited the city and decided Wichita has the right demographics for the traditional store.

Waterfront developers Johnny Stevens and Steve Clark expected similar national retail tenants to follow, but they didn’t.

Neither Stevens nor Clark returned calls to discuss the Brooks Brothers departure.