Retailer Bebe to close all 175 of its stores

Phillip Pessar | Flickr

Bebe Stores (BEBE) says its clothing brand was inspired by Shakespeare's famous "to be, or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet. The company said in a March 22 press release that it had 134 retail stores and 34 outlet locations and sold products through another 75 locations.

Last month Bloomberg reported that Bebe was planning to shut just 21 stores and instead become an online-only seller of women's fashion merchandise.

Bebe announced in a regulatory filing Friday that it had made the decision to close all 180 of its locations by the end May. Now, it will be forced to rely entirely on online sales as its brick-and-mortar stores go away.

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Previous year the company formed a joint venture with Bluestar Alliance LLC, which saw Bebe give up its intellectual property rights in exchange for $35 million.

Department stores including JCPenney, Macy's, Sears and Kmart have all announced store closures this year, along with some other mall-based stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Guess.

By closing the stores, Bebe expects to take a $20 million loss.

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The company earlier in the year hired B. Riley & Co.as financial adviser in a move that, at the time, also came with the disclosure that Bebe was exploring strategic alternatives.

Bebe's stock was falling about 1 percent Friday morning in premarket trade on this news after closing at $3.76 per share on Thursday. Rue21 also recently said it would close up to 400 stores. For the six months ended January 2, same-store sales decreased 7.4%.

A liquidation company will sell off Bebe's inventory, including its fixtures, equipment and furnishings.

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