By Reuters
April 21, 2017

Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores said on Friday it would close all its stores by the end of May, barely a month after announcing it was exploring strategic alternatives following four years of losses.

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.

Shares of the company hit a 14-month low of $3.02 in morning trading.

Bloomberg reported last month that Bebe was planning to shut stores and seek a turnaround as an online brand to avoid filing for 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.

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.

The Brisbane, California-based retailer, known for its form-fitting dresses and other apparel, did not say what its future plans were.

The company will also pay advisers B. Riley & Co and Tiger Capital Group LLC $550,000 and 15 percent of the gross proceeds from the sale of store fixtures.

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