Update, March 1, 11:15 a.m.: First, there were the murmurings of store closings — then, reports that preparations were under way for a bankruptcy filing: BCBG Max Azria officially announced this morning that it would petition for a Chapter 11 reorganization plan, according to a statement.
"The steps we are taking now, to address the shift in customer shopping patterns and the growth of online shopping, will allow us to focus on our partner relationships, digital, e-commerce, selected retail locations, and wholesale and licensing arrangements," Marty Staff, acting interim CEO of BCBG Max Azria Group, LLC, said. "The chapter 11 filing will further aid the implementation of these steps and overall strategy while we explore opportunities to recapitalize the Company and profitably expand our international footprint."
The remaining brick-and-mortar locations and in-store BCBG boutiques that weren't affected by an earlier round of closures will continue to operate as usual, the brand assured. Phew, prom season is (somewhat) safe after all.
Update, February 27, 11:30 a.m.: BCBG does, indeed, appear to be nearing its end. The label's parent company, BCBG Max Azria, LLC, is preparing to file for bankruptcy as soon as next week according to sources familiar with the matter, per Business of Fashion. The brand has already told owners of its mall outposts that it will be closing most of its 200 store locations across the U.S. It might not completely be the end for the mall staple though: BCBG's assets could, however, be sold to brand licensing firms or other companies once the label files for bankruptcy, BoF reports.
Among other retail woes, BCBG is allegedly behind on its rent, too. Back in 2013, the company was potentially sold for $1 billion, but two years later, BCBG received a cash infusion of $135 million from its investment firm, Guggenheim Partners, Reuters reported. We've reached out to BCBG, and the company isn't commenting on the matter currently.
This story was originally published on January 19th, 2017.
As part of a restructuring effort, BCBG Max Azria will apparently be shifting its attention away from brick-and-mortar locations and towards other channels of sale, such as e-commerce, licensing, and wholesale. Citing a "too large physical retail footprint" and a shift in shopping habits, "in order to remain viable, the company — like so many others in the industry — must realign its business to effectively compete in today's shopping environment," a BCBG spokesperson told Refinery29 in a statement.
Translation: "a reduced focus on free-standing brick-and-mortar stores" in the near future. The rep couldn't confirm the exact number of locations slated to close.
BCBG Max Azria has had a rough couple of years: A reported debt load of $685 million back in 2013 turned into a round of layoffs last October, according to the L.A. Times. The brand's struggle is not unique, of course. Earlier this month, we said goodbye to The Limited's mall presence, as the retailer prepared to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In light of talk about BCBG's store closures, sources close to the situation informed Bloomberg that declaring bankruptcy isn't in the cards just yet — however, the company has apparently recruited outside help to restructure its debt.
Well, that's one less familiar facade we can expect at our local (or, well, any) mall. At least we still have Aeropostale.