rue21 Files Chapter 11; To Focus on Finest Performing Stores

Another teen specialty apparel merchant, rue21 Inc., has actually applied for chapter 11 personal bankruptcy reorganization.

Last month, rue21 began the process of closing approximately 400 underperforming stores in its 1,179 shop fleet in order to improve operations. The locations were identified as unprofitable, underperforming, or not a tactical fit going forward.

rue21 employed Gordon Brothers Retail Partners to start liquidating the stock and close the stores by July 2017.

rue21’s occupancy cost in 2015 216 was approximately $118 million and in fiscal year 2017 it is expected to be around $119 million (prior to the shop closings).

The retailer will initially ask the personal bankruptcy court to cancel the remaining term on 22 of those leases, while attempting to market other of the leases.

Warrendale, PA-based rue21 likewise added it may examine additional store closings as it continues to manage its real estate lease portfolio.

“These actions are being carried out with the objective of strengthening the business’s balance sheet, attaining a more effective cost structure, and concentrating resources on a tighter retail footprint in order to pave the best course forward for rue21,” stated Melanie Cox, CEO of rue21

Historically, rue21 experienced strong development, with sales growing from $296.9 million in 2007 to $1.137 billion in 2015, Todd M. Lenhart, acting CFO of rue21, mentioned in an insolvency court filing.

However, after years of success and growth, business has actually come under substantial pressure in the last few years, stemming in large part from an evolution of client tastes. For example, the girls’ division represented 54% of the business’s overall gross sales in 2015, while in 2016, it represented just 50.2% (with divisional gross sales of $608 million and $568 million, respectively), a material year-over-year drop.

In addition, the company has experienced a decline in in-store deals due to online shopping. While its online existence is broadening and improving, its historic online platform was not as robust as its competitors, Lenhart mentioned.

In current months, the company has also been concentrated on revamping its ecommerce strategy and increasing the number of clients who engage with rue21 on its digital platform.

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