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Bebe to Close all Stores

After 40 years, the contemporary retailer has announced it will close all doors.

In March, Sourcing Journal reported the chain would exit brick and mortar, but two weeks ago, it announced it would only shutter 21 doors, which comprise 12 percent of its fleet.

Well, it seems plans have changed once again. The company filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission signaling its intentions to close all stores by the end of May.

The company is said to be exploring strategic options. No word whether those options might include moving forward as an e-commerce pure-play or a bankruptcy filing—two tactics other beleaguered retailers have taken recently.

Bebe anticipates an impaired charge of $20 million, net of deferred rent and other credits, as a result of the store closings, which will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2017.

With increasing pressure from fast fashion chains and evolving consumer tastes, mall-based stores targeting young female shoppers have been struggling lately. Wet Seal, BCBG and The Limited have been among the latest to file for bankruptcy. Bebe, which is known for body conscious dresses, had been trying to pivot its merchandise to attract the atheleisure crowd. But comp sales were down by double digits, and the company reported a negative guidance for the third quarter.

Bebe was launched in 1976 by Manny Mashouf in San Francisco to fit between the juniors market and bridge.