Bye bye Bebe
Bebe, the women’s apparel and accessories chain, based in Brisbane, San Francisco, is planning to shutter all of its stores across America.
The announcement signals the company’s plans to focus exclusively on the online marketplace, anonymous sources close to the company told Bloomberg.
Bowing out gracefully
It is also a deliberate strategy by the company to avoid bankruptcy, after four straight years of losses amounting to $200 million.
However, Bebe might be forced to file for Chapter 11 after all.
The way that this would happen is if property owners are unwilling to release the company from leases across its 170 boutique and outlet stores.
Manny Mashouf, the Founder and Chairman of the company, opened the first Bebe boutique in San Francisco in 1976.
Since then, the brand grew in popularity across the country and indeed the world.
Today, the brand markets itself as the go-to destination for women looking for contemporary fashion trends.
But like many other retail giants, Bebe has not been profitable lately.
The company announced a 15% cut in workforce during a major restructuring in February 2016.
Manny Mashouf was brought back to run the company. Last year, the clothing company sold half of the brand to a company called Bluestar Alliance LLC in so that they could create a wholesale licensing business. That business venture helped raise cash.
Wall Street’s say in the matter
All of these efforts did not alter the downward trend.
Bebe stock, which has already fallen 80% over the past two years, saw its shares plunge almost 45% after the news broke that it will close all its brick-and-mortar stores.
A decided shift in consumer preference to the world of e-commerce has led to drastic retail cuts and bankruptcies that include Wet Seal, BCBG, Max Azira, HHGregg Inc., Gordmans Stores Inc., Radioshack, and Kenneth Cole.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Bebe plans to close 25 locations in the 2017 fiscal year.” quote=”Bebe plans to close 25 locations in the 2017 fiscal year.”]
Bebe seems to be only the latest victim of a rapidly altering retail industry.