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Gone Bebe Gone: Fashion Chain Closes All of Its Stores

Women's clothing retailer Bebe is closing all of its stores by the end of next month, likely due to heightened competition from e-commerce.
A Bebe store logo is pictured on a building along the Lincoln Road Mall in Miami Beach
A Bebe store logo in Miami Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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Women's clothing retailer Bebe is closing all of its stores, according to a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said Friday it expects to shutter all of its brick-and-mortar locations by the end of May. The chain had previously said it was committed to closing 21 locations, which represented roughly 12 percent of its total outlets. California-based Bebe had 180 stores at the end of 2016, according to its website.

This news came as Bebe explained it was in the process of exploring strategic alternatives for its business, amid much speculation the company would transition to an online-only model.

Bebe said Friday it expects to recognize an impairment charge of approximately $20 million, net of deferred rent and other credits, as a result of closing the remainder of its stores. This impairment charge will be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of this year, according to the SEC filing.

Bebe's stock initially fell more than 4 percent Friday morning in premarket trade on this news, after closing at $3.76 per share on Thursday. The stock opened Friday down about 1 percent.

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Bebe didn't immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

Additional speculation has been swirling of late that Bebe could be one of the next retailers to join a growing list of companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2017. That list includes Payless ShoeSource, which announced earlier this month it will close some 400 stores in an attempt to reorganize.

Growing competition from e-commerce giant Amazon, as well as millennial-focused fashion retailers H&M and Zara, has played a role in this trend.

Related: J.C. Penney to Close 140 Stores

Bloomberg reported last month that Bebe was planning to close all of its stores and hoped to do so without having to file for bankruptcy.

The company didn't specify Friday what its future plans are.