bebe Closes 21 Stores as it Tries to Overhaul Brand
bebe announced it's committed to closing 21 brick-and-mortar stores, representing 12 percent of its outlet locations. The closings follow recent speculation that the speciality retailer would shutter all of its stores and become an online-only brand. CNBC reports that in a filing with the SEC on Wednesday, bebe would incur an impairment fee of $2 million from the closures. The company is currently looking for new avenues for its business and will continue to keep the remaining stores open during the transitional time.
Total Retail's Take: Speculation is rampant that bebe might be the next retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. If so, the women's apparel brand would join a long list of retailers — recently including Gander Mountain and Payless ShoeSource. bebe's net sales are down a troubling 13.5 percent in the first six months of the fiscal year. We'll see what the next steps for the retailer are, with a bankruptcy filing looming.