REAL ESTATE

Reuters: Gymboree eyes closing half its stores

BY Marianne Wilson

Just 14 months after it successfully emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Gymboree Group is reportedly weighing a major downsizing.

The children’s clothing retailer is considering closing more than half of its approximately 900 stores, reported Reuters, which cited people familiar with the matter. Gymboree has hired consulting firm Berkley Research Group LLC to help it review options, which could include filing for bankruptcy again, the report said. Berkley Research Group will also help the chain help cut costs and analyze its store leases.

Gymboree filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017, and emerged later that year, in September, with a reduced footprint (less about 350 stores) and new owners. It also cut its debt by some $1 billion.

The retailer has been under heavy competition from Target and Walmart, both of whom have expanded their kids’ clothing offerings, and a reenergized The Children’s Place. In July, Gymboree announced it was rebooting its brand with new in-store and digital experiences. The re-boot also included a merchandise update.

In addition to its namesake brand, Gymboree also operates a higher-end brand, Janie & Jack, and value-brand Crazy 8.

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