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Esprit to shutter all North American stores

Hong Kong -- Esprit Holdings said Thursday that it will close all 93 of its stores in North America, after abandoning previously announced plans to sell off the business or find a licensed operator to run the stores.

However, according to an emailed statement by Patrick Lau, head of investor relations and mergers and acquisitions, Esprit plans to find one or more license partners to maintain the brand’s presence in North America.

Sales in North America accounted for less than 4% of the apparel retail group’s $4.3 billion in revenue last year. The company had already started closing some stores here and negotiating the termination of the remainder of the store leases. The U.S. and Canadian subsidiaries haven’t decided yet whether to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief.