A young professional of my acquaintance ("The Pro") was ambling through the Cherry Hill Mall on Sunday when he noticed a very purposeful man with a bold familiar face and a cool MP3 player "walking through people." The Pro turned to his companions and asked, "Is there an American Apparel store near here?"
Very near, it turned out -- and close enough for the Pro to watch the very purposeful man stride into that American Apparel store as if he owned the place, walk up to a young woman clerk, look down at her feet, and ask, "Are those Keds you're wearing? You have to wear our shoes here."
"That was Dov Charney, absolutely," the Pro told me later. But wasn't Charney, the bombastic American Apparel CEO, fired last month for improper conduct? Yes, but: The company has taken Charney back as a strategic consultant while a board committee reviews the accusations against him. Indeed, according to this SEC filing, Charney agrees not to interfere with the investigation, or access company computers, while that's still going on. Meanwhile: "Mr. Charney will be entitled to receive his base salary as a consultant to the Company." Though he also "will have no supervisory authority over any employees of the Company." So in theory the clerk can keep her Keds on.
Sally Hofmeister of Sitrick and Co., which represents American Apparel, told me the company had "no comment" on Charney's store visits. At PREIT, Cherry Hill's Philadelphia-based owner, spokeswoman Heather Crowell said the landlord has no comment. A woman who answered a phone at the Cherry Hill store said Charney's not there today.