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Francesca’s to Close 140 Stores as Bankruptcy Still on the Table

Women’s specialty apparel retailer Francesca’s is set to close 140 of its roughly 700 mall-based stores by the end of January.

The chain raised the specter of a bankruptcy filing in May when it posted fourth-quarter results, warning that widespread temporary coronavirus store stores weighed heavily on its operations. The Houston-based company had skipped rent payments in April, but was set to resume paying landlords in July. A month later, Francesca’s said that if it couldn’t obtain the required financing, its “liquidity and ability to continue operations could be materially adversely affected.”

In September, the company posted second-quarter results and said it was officially pursuing strategic alternatives, including bankruptcy court protection. While the company hired FTI Capital Advisors to help with evaluating its financial options, Francesca’s stated Monday in a federal filing about the store closures that bankruptcy was still very much on the table.

“The Company’s strategic plans are not yet finalized,” said Cindy Thomassee, executive vice president and chief financial officer, in Monday’s Securities and Exchange Commission filing.