Parent of US discounter Fallas files bankruptcy, to close some stores

Aug 6 (Reuters) - National Stores Inc, which operates the Fallas, Factory 2-U and other discount apparel and housewares stores, on Monday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, becoming the latest U.S. retailer to succumb to financial pressure as more consumers shop online.

The family-owned company founded in 1962 plans to close 74 of its 344 stores, which now employ more than 9,800 people in 22 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.

All the bankruptcies and liquidations so far in 2018
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All the bankruptcies and liquidations so far in 2018

Nine West

Nine West Holdings filed for bankruptcy in April.

The women's clothing and footwear company said it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to help facilitate the sale of its Nine West and Bandolino businesses. The company listed debts of more than $1 billion.

"This is the right step to address our two divergent business profiles," Nine West Holdings' CEO, Ralph Schipani, said in a statement. "Once we complete the reorganization process, our company will have meaningfully reduced debt and interest costs and be well positioned for the future."  

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The jewelry chain Claire's filed for bankruptcy in March. The company said plunging customer traffic to shopping malls led to its decline.

"The retail industry as a whole has been challenged by shifts in consumer purchasing preferences and habits," Claire's said in a bankruptcy filing.

The retailer plans to close 92 stores, most of which are located in malls

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The Walking Company

The shoe seller The Walking Company, which operates 208 stores in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.  

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The Bon-Ton Stores

The Bon-Ton Stores owns multiple department store chains including Bon-Ton, Bergner's, Boston Store, Carson's, Elder-Beerman, Herberger's, and Younkers. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in February, is winding down its business after two liquidation firms — Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group — won an auction for the company's assets.

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Toys R Us

Toys R Us recently began liquidating its US business after an unsuccessful attempt to restructure the company through bankruptcy. The company, which filed for bankruptcy in September, has shut down its Toys R Us and Babies R Us websites, and it's now holding going-out-of-business sales at its more than 700 US stores. 

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Remington Outdoor

Remington filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March amid slowing gun sales.

The 202-year-old company, which owns gun manufacturers including Bushmaster and Marlin, said its sales fell 30% last year to $600 million.

Remington isn't the only gun company facing sales declines. The downward trend has been called the "Trump slump" because the president is seen as supportive of the gun industry.

But Remington had been facing backlash prior to Trump's election.

Remington settled a class-action lawsuit in 2014 and agreed to replace the triggers on 7.5 million allegedly defective guns, free of charge. While Remington maintains that the guns are safe, the lawsuits linked the guns "to hundreds of serious injuries and at least two-dozen deaths," CNBC reports. 

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Women's apparel and accessories retailer A'Gaci filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January. The company said at the time that it planned to close 49 of its 76 stores.  

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Kiko USA

Cosmetics retailer Kiko USA Inc filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January and said it would close all but four of its 29 stores and shut down its New York headquarters.  

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Italian casual-dining chain Bertucci's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April and closed 15 restaurants.

The company, which has 59 restaurants in the US, said it had agreed to sell its assets to Right Lane Dough Acquisitions LLC for nearly $20 million. 

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Southeastern Grocers

Southeastern Grocers, the parent company of the grocery chains Winn-Dixie, Harveys, and Bi-Lo, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.

As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the company is closing 94 grocery stores. That represents about 16% of Southeastern Grocers' store count, with 582 locations remaining open. 

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Tops Markets

Tops Markets operates 174 supermarkets — called Tops Friendly Markets — in New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February and recently filed a petition to close "a few" stores

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It blamed the bankruptcy on a negative environment for retailers, costs from its purchase of the 78-store East Coast chain Conway's in 2014, lost revenue from Hurricanes Harvey and Maria in 2017, and a data breach that exposed information for more than 552,000 cards in late 2017.

Chief Executive Michael Fallas said National Stores plans after restructuring to "compete in an evolving industry" and continue serving "communities where we are rooted."

The Gardena, California-based company said its stores support "underserved, low-income communities" where consumers typically shop by price rather than to keep up with fashion trends. Its products sell for an average $5 each.

Store closing sales will begin on Thursday.

Dozens of retailers have filed for bankruptcy in the last two years, including Claire's, Gymboree, hhgregg, Styles For Less, Toys R Us and Wet Seal.

National Stores has between $100 million and $500 million of both assets and liabilities, according to its petition filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The company said it lined up $108 million of financing to keep operating while in bankruptcy.

Reuters on Friday reported National Stores' plan to seek court protection. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Jessica DiNapoli in New York) 

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