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BCBG Latest Retailer to Close Stores As Sales Move Online

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Orlando Premium OutletsPhotograph by Larry A. Falke

Fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group is set to close stores and restructure itself, slammed by the move online of sales and weighed down by a heavy debt burden, Bloomberg News reported on Wednesday.

The company, whose fashions have long graced red-carpet events, has too many stores and needs to rethink its structure, Seth Lubove, a spokesman for BCBG at Sitrick & Co, told Fortune in an e-mail statement.

“Like so many other great brands, BCBG has been negatively impacted by the growth in online sales and shifts in customer shopping patterns and, as a result, has too large a physical retail footprint,” said Lubove. The retailer will concentrate more on licensing, building up its e-commerce and sell its wares at other retailers, he said.

BCBG has about 570 shops worldwide, of which 175 are stateside. Lubove declined to comment on potential store closings.

The retailer would be the latest to close stores amid a big shift online and changing consumer tastes. Earlier this month, The Limited, once a must-go destination for women, said it would close all its stores. Department stores like Macy’s (M) are also shedding unproductive stores by the dozen.

According to Bloomberg, BCBG has hired AlixPartners LP to help restructure its debt load, and prefers to do so without resorting to bankruptcy protection. A number of retailers have filed for bankruptcy protection in the last two years, including The Limited, Aéropostale, Wet Seal and American Apparel.

Azria founded the brand in 1989 and opened its first store Los Angeles in 1992. BCBG stands for the French expression “bon chic, bon genre,” which loosely translated means “stylish.”

“BCBG is a world-class designer and producer of apparel, which with the necessary changes, should be able to be successful,” said Lubove, noting that it was looking at a “variety of options” to restructure itself.