Bebe expects to close all it stores by the end of May

Katrina Soto
April 22, 2017

Bebe had 180 locations as of January 2, according to a separate SEC filing.

The firm already had trimmed its store count to cut costs, and had said last month that it still had 134 Bebe stores in 31 states, Puerto Rico and Canada along with 34 Bebe outlet stores.

But its stores have struggled with competition not only from e-commerce but also from the likes of fast-fashion retailers Zara, owned by Inditex of Spain, and H&M Hennes & Mauritz of Sweden.

Bebe joins clothing store chains The Limited and Wet Seal among the recent chains to go away.

Bebe has not filed bankruptcy and didn't provide details on its future plans but it is reportedly considering the possibility of moving its business online only.

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Bankruptcy filings of other retailers within the last several weeks have included Payless ShoeSource, Gander Mountain and HHGregg. A spokesperson for the company could not be reached for comment.

Bebe Stores Inc. started in 1976 and describes itself as staying true to its "assertive, provocative origins".

Its products included active wear, tops, dresses and accessories.

The California-based chain, with a location at Mall of America, disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday that it will close all of its 168 stores by the end of May. It hired a real estate adviser to look into its lease holdings and a financial adviser to explore "strategic alternatives". Sales have fallen in four of the past five years, plunging 17% to $101.9 million in the latest quarter. "Many of its fellow retailers, particularly those backed by private equity companies, can't say the same". The company posted a net loss of $13 million during that period, down from $22.5 million a year earlier.

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