Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores

Gladys Abbott
April 21, 2017

Bebe, a chain of clothing stores for young women, is slated to close all 180 of its stores nationwide - including two in the Queen City - by the end of May, the documents said.

The company had previously said it would close 21 locations. Bebe's fortunes seemed to revive somewhat later that year after naming retail veteran and Jackson Hole Group founder Jim Wigget as CEO, but the company struggled to gain traction, and Wigget stepped down early last year.

The retailer expects to take an impairment charge of approximately $20 million, net of deferred rent and other credits, as a result of closing the remainder of its stores.

The impairment charge will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2017. The stock opened Friday down about 1 percent. CNBC reports Bebe was trying to re-organize and considering a move to online-only sales.

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Additional speculation has been swirling of late that Bebe could be one of the next retailers to join a growing list of companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2017.

To complete the process, Bebe entered into an agreement with Great American Group - an affiliate of its financial advisor B. Riley and Co, which the retailer hired in mid-March to explore strategic alternatives.

Increased competition from Amazon and fast-fashion retailers like H&M has challenged more traditional apparel retailers, particularly those targeting young women. However, the company has not disclosed what its future plans are.

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