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

A Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed women's clothing retailer Bebe will close all of its stores before summer.

The company, which had 180 stores at the end of 2016, also plans to liquidate all merchandise and fixtures within the stores, it said in a regulatory filing. Companies including Wet Seal and Payless have filed bankruptcy.

A number of apparel retailers have gone bankrupt in the last couple of years, including Aeropostale and The Limited, due to lackluster demand as they battle stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc and fast-fashion retailers such as H&M and Zara.

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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. Representatives for Tiger Capital Group were not immediately available for comment. "Many of its fellow retailers, particularly those backed by private equity companies, can't say the same". It hired a real estate adviser to look into its lease holdings and a financial adviser to explore "strategic alternatives".

Bebe lost $13 million in the six months that ended December 31, the first half of its fiscal year, as its sales fell to $189.2 million, down 13.5% from the same period a year earlier.

Bebe's strategy was predicated on designing and selling its own line of women's clothing that it called "unique, sophisticated and timelessly sexy", which the chain said defined "next-generation chic while staying true to its assertive, provocative origins". The company posted a net loss of $13 million during that period, down from $22.5 million a year earlier.


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