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Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores

21 April 2017

Bebe announced in a regulatory filing Friday that it had made the decision to close all 180 of its locations by the end May.

Bebe has only one store in Alabama, at the Summit in Birmingham.

Last summer the retailer struck a deal with brand management company Bluestar Alliance to develop its wholesale business overseas, where the retailer retains a higher profile than in the U.S. In his second quarter statement, Mashouf said the retailer's reduction of expenses helped its bottom line.

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Bebe is closing all its stores, the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to get dumped by customers who would rather shop with their phones than their feet. For the six months ended January 2, same-store sales decreased 7.4%.

Bebe has suffered declining sales, prompting it to hire a financial adviser in March to explore strategic alternatives.

Bebe expects to recognize an impairment charge of about $20 million from the store closures, which will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters. And it may incur a loss from the sale of its merchandise.

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The company's sales for the first six months of its 2017 fiscal year, a period that ended December 31, totaled $189.2 million, down 13.5% from a year earlier.

Founded by CEO Manny Mashouf in San Francisco, 1976, the store drew its name from Shakespeare's phrase, "To be, or not to be".

BeBe shares were down almost 3% early Friday morning. The price has dropped to $3. The company, with about 170 boutique and outlet stores, was trying to close the locations without filing for bankruptcy.

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Bebe is a victim of retail migration to e-commerce.

Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores