Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Money | By Oscar Reynolds

Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores

Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores

Bebe Stores, a women's clothing chain, is the latest casualty in a spate of retail store closures.

Bebe had 180 retail stores as of December 31, 2016, according to the filings.

The exact number of stores was not immediately available.

More retailers are expected to file for bankruptcy this year, according to industry experts. The company said in a March 22 press release that it had 134 retail stores and 34 outlet locations and sold products through another 75 locations.

The Bay Area, which boasts relatively low vacancy at its shopping centers, had mostly been resilient to the closures until JCPenney recently announced it would shutter its store in Richmond's Hilltop mall.

Others chains that have shuttered all their stores or retrenched include BCBG, The Limited and Wet Seal.

The company, which had 180 stores in the USA and Canada, also plans to liquidate all merchandise and fixtures within the stores. Executives at the company's California headquarters could not be reached for comment. The company says its name is inspired by Shakespeare's words, "To be, or not to be". Net sales at Bebe fell 13.5 percent in the first six months of its current fiscal year, which ended December 31.

Nearly one month after the California company hired a consultant to explore "strategic alternatives", Bebe said its stores are expected to go dark by the end of May, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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