When the Spiegel Group entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late March, it seemed inevitable that it would close storefronts. Indeed, on April 28, it filed a motion with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to close 60 "under-performing" Eddie Bauer stores to improve its financial outlook for 2003.
"The decision to close stores is never easy, yet we are confident that this move will result in a healthier, more productive store base for Eddie Bauer as we eliminate the least productive stores and concentrate our efforts on boosting store productivity," said Bill Kosturos, interim CEO and chief restructuring officer for the Spiegel Group.
Eddie Bauer has 529 stores in the United States and Canada, and is looking to close 51 apparel stores, eight home stores and one outlet store in 26 different states. The stores will remain open for business until the court approves the motion. If the court agrees, stores will be closed after all inventory is sold.
"We are taking tough, but necessary, steps to position Eddie Bauer for future success," Fabian Mansson, president and CEO of Eddie Bauer, said. "Our refined base of Eddie Bauer stores will operate as usual as we continue to deliver outstanding customer service and provide a compelling merchandise offer that reflects Eddie Bauer's heritage of quality, innovative, outdoor-inspired products. As always, we appreciate the continuing support of our loyal customers and dedicated associates as we work to strengthen our business."