Rue21 Apparel Stores Set to Close in the Coming Weeks After Filing for Third Bankruptcy

By Trisha Andrada

May 06, 2024 05:06 AM EDT

Popular teens clothing retailer Rue21 is shutting all 540 of its locations in the the coming weeks as it declares bankruptcy after almost 50 years in operation.

Reportedly, its stores will be closing their doors in the next four to six weeks, and "going out of business" discounts will start shortly. The company will also liquidate its intellectual property, including its brand name. Its website is no longer operational.

Triple Bankruptcies Occurred Throughout Rue21's History

Following its third bankruptcy filing on Thursday, May 2, the Pittsburgh-based retailer is shutting down its stores.

Since Rue21 filed for bankruptcy in 2017 with the hopes of turning it around, it has been dealing with financial difficulties in recent years.

The firm has around 4,900 workers and almost $200 million in debt, according to Reuters. Its first bankruptcy filing was in 2003.

READ NEXT: Clothing Retailer Express to Shutter Over 100 Outlets as It Declares Bankruptcy

Rue21 Faces Financial Instability as Its Relevance Diminishes

Interim CEO Michele Pascoe said Rue21's struggles to turn a profit stemmed from a number of factors, including COVID-19 pandemic, underperforming stores, rising industry rivalry, the popularity of internet shopping, inflation, macroeconomic headwinds, and difficulties in borrowing financing, as reported by CNN.

Neil Saunders, managing director and retail analyst at GlobalData Retail, claims that the increasing irrelevance of the Rue21 brand among teenagers was a key factor in the company's demise.

Saunders told CNN that Rue21 is losing clients to other businesses and fashion platforms like China's Shein due to its lack of a compelling offer. "There is still a big question mark over whether the retail market needs Rue21 to exist."

Rue21 was established in 1970 as Pennsylvania Fashions Inc. and operated under different brand names until it declared bankruptcy in 2002. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2003 and underwent a name change to rue21.

In April, Express, a well-established mall retailer, made the decision to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As a result, around 95 Express retail stores and all of the brand's UpWest stores will be closing.

In March, Joann, a fabric and crafts store, filed for bankruptcy. However, there are no plans to close its stores. Similarly, The Body Shop, a UK-based company, announced in March that its US subsidiary will be closing all of its stores as it is no longer operational.

READ MORE: China's Secondhand Luxury Shopping Industry Sees Surge in Sales!

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