Steve & Barry's To Close Stores

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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Steve & Barry stores and its parent company have abandoned plans to keep stores open during bankruptcy protection and will liquidate them over the next few months, according to a bankruptcy court filing.

The retailer had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after its growth plans were hurt as consumers cut back on spending. The investment firms that bought Steve & Barry in August said they planned to close some stores and keep operating with a smaller base. Steve & Barry's has a store in Towne East Square in Wichita.

But the retailer and its owner, affiliates of Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management, said in the filing Wednesday that they have joined with liquidator Great American Group LLC to liquidate all inventory in remaining stores by the end of this year or early next year.

"For various reasons, including the general health of the American economy and the state of the retail market in particular, sales at all stores have been disappointing," the documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York stated.

Steve & Barry's legal counsel Christopher Fugarino said the company had no immediate comment.

The company is the latest casualty of the weak retail sector, as consumers cut discretionary spending amid a shaky job market, tight credit and prolonged housing slump.

While some stores that have declared bankruptcy, such as electronics retailer Circuit City Stores Inc., still plan to keep stores open, others, including specialty retailer Linens 'N Things and department-store chain Mervyns LLC, have begun to liquidate all of their stores.

Steve & Barry's LLC, based in Port Washington, N.Y., had 240 locations when it was bought and the new owners had planned to cut that down to 173 stores. The company also named a new chief executive, Harold Kahn, last month. But the drop-off in consumer spending made that impossible, according to the filing.

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