Sunday, February 18, 2018
Business

Aéropostale files for Ch. 11 bankruptcy protection, to close 113 stores

Teen clothing retailer Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Wednesday and announced it will close 113 stores across the United States and 41 stores in Canada.

The retailer operates 57 stores in major malls in Florida, including in WestShore Plaza, Westfield Citrus Park, Westfield Brandon, Westfield Countryside, Tyrone Square Mall and University Mall. Six stores will close in Florida, but none in the Tampa Bay area. Closures include stores in Sarasota, Estero, Orlando, Miami, Palm Beach Gardens and Vero Beach.

Store-closing sales are scheduled to begin this weekend. Gift cards will be honored in full.

There are no plans for liquidation at Aéropostale. The company operates 739 stores in the U.S., including Puerto Rico, and Canada. The retailer sells clothing and accessories aimed at teenage boys and girls.

Aéropostale is the latest in a string of bankruptcy filings by teen clothing retailers over the past year or so. Wet Seal, a discount clothier and a former staple in family-centric malls around the country, filed for bankruptcy in January and closed stores in WestShore Plaza and Westfield Citrus Park. Delia's, which sold clothes and accessories to girls and teens, liquidated its stores in Florida. Cache, a common stop for prom dresses in malls such as Tyrone Square and the Westfield malls in Countryside, Citrus Park and Brandon, shuttered stores and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Gap closed two Tampa Bay area stores in January at Westfield Citrus Park and Tyrone Square Mall as part of a corporate restructuring.

"The ripple effects of an ongoing dispute with our second-largest supplier put substantial strain on our liquidity while also preventing us from realizing the full benefits of our turnaround plans," Julian Geiger, CEO of Aéropostale, said in a statement.

Contact Justine Griffin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8467. Follow @SunBizGriffin.

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