Yet Another National Mall Retailer Goes Bankrupt, Closing All 540 Stores

By Dave Basner

May 6, 2024

The landscape of malls is changing. Not long ago, they would be lined with store after store, but now, there are many boarded up storefronts as retailers close locations as a cost-cutting measure or as part of a bankruptcy. Mall staples likes Foot Locker, Macy's and Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop and Express are among those shuttering stores, and now, another is joining them.

Rue21, known for their teen apparel, has filed for bankruptcy and will be closing all of their 540 stores in the coming weeks. At its peak just a few years ago, the chain boasted 1,200 locations, but they've struggled since then. This is actually the third time the company has filed for bankruptcy, following financial challenges in 2017 and 2003 that they were able to recover from. This time though, that won't be the case.

CEO Michele Pascoe explained the bankruptcy in a court filing, stating the company was "negatively impacted by challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and related adverse market trends, including a shift in consumer shopping patterns from traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to online retailers and changing consumer preferences." She added that "under-performing retail locations, increased industry competition and the uptick in online shopping, inflation and macroeconomic headwinds, and challenges raising capital" all led to the filing.

The stores, located in 45 states, will begin "going out of business" sales soon, and they will close for good in the next four to six weeks. The company will also sell off its brand name as well as other intellectual property.

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