Chris Burch

To some, C. Wonder was doomed from the start, an effort to compete with the glamorous Tory Burch, whom Chris Burch was divorced from in 2006 and who turned the company they founded together into a $1 billion fashion empire. C. Wonder grew too quickly, Mr. Burch agreed, entering into ill-advised and costly store leases that reflected his singular vision of bringing low-priced, neon-bright goodies to the masses.

C. Wonder, the preppy clothing and gift chain founded by billionaire Chris Burch, is closing all its stores, having failed to find a market for its kitschy mid-priced womenswear, home goods and  knick-knacks. "Due to the highly competitive nature of the current retail environment, C. Wonder will be closing its remaining stores," spokesperson Daniela Maron told Forbes. "The company continues to .

These days, "retail startup" is generally synonymous with "new e-commerce site." Given the relative low costs of building an online shopping destination, combined with projections for online shopping growth across the globe, the notion of launching a retail brand through bricks-and-mortar seems a little misguided — if not downright foolish. Unless you're J. Christopher Burch. The billionaire venture capitalist, best known for co-founding fashion label Tory Burch with his ex-wife, is building his portfolio of brands through an aggressive — and innovative — physical retail strategy.

You heard it here first: 2013 will be the year of Tory Burch. On Jan. 1, the fashion mogul's company made two big announcements, both of which will renew speculation of an impending IPO that could land the 46-year-old on the Forbes 400. The board at Tory Burch's eponymous brand and the designer's ex-husband Chris Burch have settled "all pending legal claims," per a statement, putting an end to an increasingly nasty and public battle of lawsuits and counterclaims.

More Blogs