Fashion retailer closing all stores

It’s curtain time for Bebe Stores — or at least its brick-and-mortar operations.
 
The struggling women’s apparel retailer will close all its stores by the end of May, according to a filing on Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and also liquidate all merchandise and fixtures in the stores. Bebe had previously said it would close 21 stores, or 12% of its portfolio, to avoid filing Chapter 11. (Bebe had 180 retail stores as of Dec. 31, 2016.)
 
The retailer expects to take an impairment charge of approximately $20 million, net of deferred rent and other credits, as a result of closing the remainder of its stores. The charge will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of this year.
 
In March, Bebe hired B. Riley & Co. as its financial advisor to explore strategic alternatives. Since then, there has been speculation that the chain would move to a Web-only model for its business. Bebe did not reveal any details in the filing on Friday regarding its future plans. 
 
Increased competition from Amazon and fast-fashion retailers like H&M has challenged more traditional apparel retailers, particularly those targeting young women. Earlier this year, The Limited and The Wet Seal closed all their stores. Most recently, Rue 21 said it would shutter 400 locations.  
 
In addition to its stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada, Bebe distributes and sells Bebe-branded product in approximately 75 doors through licensees in more than 21 countries.
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