Teen apparel retailer Rue21 to shutter stores

US teen apparel retailer Rue21 plans to shutter more than one third of its stores in an apparent attempt to avoid bankruptcy.

Associated Press reports the retailer will shutter about 400 stores across the US as it becomes the latest retailer to struggle with the shift of shoppers away from suburban malls and online.

The company confirmed on Facebook over Easter that it had made a “difficult but necessary decision… in closing some stores”.

Closing sales are already underway.

“Death waits for no man – or retailer, for that matter,” observed US retail industry commentator Retail Dive, commenting on Rue21’s news.

“As e-commerce continues its gradual encroachment on brick-and-mortar store traffic and sales across the board, the most vulnerable retailers are on thin ice.”

The collapse follows those of rival teen apparel retailer Wet Seal and women’s apparel chain The Limited. Nine US retailers have already filed for bankruptcy protection this year – that’s the same number as for the entire 2016 year.  

Retail Dive said it appeared “increasingly likely” Rue21 is heading toward bankruptcy, having missed interest payments on loans and struggling to attract investors willing to refinance its debt.


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