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REAL ESTATE

Charlotte Russe to liquidate and close all stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Charlotte Russe, a mall staple for 44 years, is going out of business.

The young women’s apparel retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on February 3, 2019, with plans to close about 95 of its 500-plus stores while continuing to pursue a sale of its business and assets. It said at the time it would liquidate if a buyer did not step up.

Charlotte Russe’s plans to find a buyer who would keep it in business fell through when company was unable to secure an offer before the deadline set by its lenders. In a court hearing on Wednesday, March 6, a bankruptcy court judge named SB360 Capital Partners as agent for the liquidation. Inventory valued at approximately $160 billion will be sold through the Charlotte Russe stores. The company’s intellectual property and rights to its leases will be sold separately so there is a chance the Charlotte Russe brand will not totally disappear.

SB360 said that going-out-of-business-sales have started in Charlotte Russe’s remaining 416 stores across 44 states and Puerto Rico, and that its online store has been shuttered. Gift cards will be redeemed through March 21, and all stores will be closed by the end of April.

In 2009, Charlotte Russe was acquired by private equity firm Advent International for $380 million. In February 2018, the company announced a restructuring deal with its lenders that allowed it to slash its debt from $214 million to $90 million. But its sales have sagged as the retailer was unable to keep up with faster-moving fast-fashion rivals such as H&M amid a harsh climate for mall-based teen apparel retailers. In September, the company hired Berkeley Research Group to start exploring a possible restructuring.

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