Steve & Barry's files for bankruptcy protection

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by S2007S, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. S2007S


    If this company is having problems than I am worried about the rest of the retailers out there, I have seen their prices and find it amazing in some cases that you can actually buy clothing for prices not seen in most stores. I wonder how many more chapter 11's there are left in the retail sector.

    Steve & Barry's files for bankruptcy protection
    Wednesday July 9, 3:26 pm ET
    By Anne D'Innocenzio, AP Business Writer
    Fashion retailer Steve & Barry's files for bankruptcy protection amid cash crunch

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Steve & Barry's LLC, once a growing force in low-priced fashion retailing, said Wednesday that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the latest merchant to succumb to a harsh consumer spending climate.

    It also announced that it was considering a plan to sell all or some of its assets to repay outstanding debt, and was eliminating 172 corporate and field staff positions immediately.

    The Port Washington, N.Y.-based chain operates 276 locations in 39 states and made a big splash with merchandising endorsements with actress Sarah Jessica Parker and other celebrities.

    The parent company and 63 of its affiliates filed for protection from its creditors in the U.S. bankruptcy court for the Southern District of New York.

    It joins home furnishings chain Linen 'n Things Inc., catalog retailer Lillian Vernon Corp. specialty retailer Sharper Image Corp. in filing for bankruptcy protection this year.

    Steve & Barry's officials blamed a cash crunch as a result of tighter credit markets and sluggish economic conditions. That hurt its plans to open stores and its ability to borrow money.

    "The generally poor environment for apparel retailers has reduced funding to our suppliers, landlords and to our company," Steve Shore and Barry Prevor, co-founders and co-CEOS, said in a statement. "It has become increasingly difficult for us to continue operating normally under these circumstances."

    They also noted that speculation in the marketplace about the company's cash issues in recent weeks became "self-fulfilling prophesies." They said that many suppliers cut off access to services and supplies. They said landlords stopped making "contractually-owed payments for construction and store opening work" the retailer performed.

    "As a result of all of this, our loans have gone into default, and we have had no alternative but to file Chapter 11 to enable continued operations," they said.

    The bankruptcy filing marks a hard and fast fall for Steve & Barry, founded in 1985. Its success was built on selling $10 fashions while keeping costs low by using virtually no advertising, manufacturing its own clothes and selling in large volume.

    In fact, its low-price fashion formula should have thrived in this environment as shoppers have been trading down to cheaper stores. But the founders conceded that in this climate, marketing prowess and cheap prices just weren't enough.

    From a sales perspective, the company's founders said that the chain performed well, with total sales in the first five months of 2008 rising 70 percent; average store sales rose 25 percent and same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, rose 15 percent. In particular, its exclusive branded lines of merchandise created with Parker and others have performed "exceptionally well."

    But that was not enough given the overall tightening of credit and harsh economic environment. The company noted that high costs of materials and fuel prices have increased the costs of goods and cost of operating. Company founders also noted that its customers are "feeling the pain of high food and gas prices and declining home values, and many of them are being forced to shop closer to their homes and cut back on discretionary purchases."

    Sharper Image, which filed for bankruptcy protection in February, is now being liquidated. In early June, Sharper Image said it is selling its remaining assets to an investment group for $49 million, a markdown from the price that the fallen specialty retailer had negotiated in May as part of its liquidation.
  2. I'll bet that lease space is expensive. There is a store in the Chicago area that's near-empty. It's too large for what they need, and doesn't have enough business to warrant the cavernous space. I never really found much in there anyway - tried shopping for nieces and nephews, and I couldn't find much that they'd like. It's not much of a loss.