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There's not much about the month of January that I care for. It's usually — not this year, so far, but usually — cold and crappy and wet outside. There aren't any holidays, unless you work for the government. The coming of spring is just some urban legend you'd be a fool to put any faith in.
January's one redeeming quality is the pervasiveness of half-price sales — coats and sweaters and all other things wintry packed together on the discount racks. And this year, there are three major going-out-of-business sales to add to the fun.
They're down to the dregs by now at Eddie Bauer in McCain Mall, but if you're a guy, or a very small woman, you might still find something. (There were also lots of socks and belts and gadgets, plus some duffle and messenger bags, left last weekend.) The final closing date hadn't been determined as of press time, but this will likely be the final weekend. Whatever's left will be dirt cheap, that's for sure — almost everything was 70 percent off last weekend, so it's probably discounted even more heavily now.
An Arkansas institution, the Colony Shop, has started its GOB sale. A company spokesman was stingy with details about why and exactly when the stores are closing, but the deals are already pretty good: an extra 30 percent off all fall and winter merchandise, which is just about everything in the store, and 25 percent off everything else. Some things had already been discounted 60 and 70 percent, and there's plenty left. If you're not familiar with the Colony Shop, it's an Arkansas-based department store chain with a location at Lakewood Village in North Little Rock. It carries lines familiar to Dillard's and JC Penney shoppers, including Jones New York Signature and Liz Claibourne.
If you're in the mood to redecorate, head to David Claibourne, the home decor mall at Cantrell Road and Taylor Loop. Claibourne is planning to retire and “pursue other interests,” according to an ad he placed in the daily newspaper, and the store will close its doors for good around the end of February. Much of the furniture is already 50 percent off. The crowds clearly came through last weekend, but there's plenty left, especially if it's accessories or rugs you're after, and Claibourne said he's still getting in new merchandise.
n While you're out in West Little Rock, several of the stores at Pleasant Ridge Town Center have sales going on. Beyond Cotton has clothing up to 75 percent off, and Jeante has all jeans (Red Engine is the primary brand) half off.
And if you haven't been in Frock and Sole before — I somehow managed not to notice it was open for three months — it might be worth a stop. It's a contemporary women's clothing store, heavy on dresses, as the name suggests. Lines include Plenty, Liquid, Intercud and Inner Child — clothes that are young and hip, but not so self-consciously so that a normal person would feel weird wearing them.
If you're dressing a young child for Easter, Cupcakes and Caterpillars has a couple of options for the under-2 set that I just fell in love with. One is a sky-blue linen shortall (also comes as a dress and an overalls set, which costs about double) that I would have snatched up on the spot if I could have convinced myself that it would not be covered in puke or worse before the first egg was found. The other is a line of turquoise gingham (much cuter than it sounds) outfits with embroidered bunnies on the front, in the $70 range, from Amanda Remembered.
Other news: Aldo, a mid-priced shoe store, is set to open in Park Plaza sometime in April. The store carries men's and women's styles, and prices are mostly between $50 and $100.
Tallulah, the women's boutique on Kavanaugh in the Heights, has marked down fall and winter clothes 50 percent off; Scarpe has its fall and winter up to 75 percent off, including, my correspondent says, “some kick-ass boots.” Couldn't find a better reason than that to stop by.