Working women who have never heard of A & E Stores are more likely to be familiar with its Strawberry and Bolton's chains. The company operates more than 15 Strawberry and Bolton's stores that sell junior's and women's career and casual apparel, shoes, and accessories. The stores are concentrated in prime office districts in New York City. A & E's third retail chain, Pay/Half, operates more than 45 discount family clothing stores in half a dozen northeastern states, the Chicago area, and Wisconsin. A & E Stores was formed in 1973 by Alan Ades and Albert and Dennis Erani.
While Strawberry and Bolton's stores are all located in the five boroughs of New York City and on Long Island, Pay/Half stores have a broader retail reach. Those stores can be found in Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
A & E's women's clothing chains are facing increased competition from the likes of fast-fashion chains, including
. However, the demise of rival
, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013 for the third time, could benefit the women's apparel retailer.