Bebe Stores Inc eyes private equity firms for possible sale- sources

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Feb 08, 2014 10:14 AM EST

Sources told Reuters that Bebe Stores Inc is eyeing private equity firms for a possible sale of the contemporary women's retailer. The report, however, did not mention the names of the private equity firms Bebe Stores is reportedly reaching out to.

According to the people familiar with the matter, the Brisbane, Californwia-based retailer has engaged the services of Guggenheim Securities to aid in the process. Bebe is best known for its formfitting dresses. The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the matter is private, the report said.

Reuters tried to get in touch with Bebe stores but the retailer could not immediately be reached to comment on the news. Guggenheim, meanwhile, did not comment, the report said.

There are currently 228 stores operated by Bebe at present. This includes those bearing the bebe as well as the 2b bebe brand names. With stores in the US, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada, Bebe also has an online store and gets its brand distributed in 26 countries through its licensees, the report said.

As an indication of investors' relief that Bebe's same store sales plunged only 1.9% in the second quarter, Bebe shares increased over 14% on Friday, February 7. The drop was much lower compared to first quarter's decrease of 2.8%. Retailers in the US have suffered declines as shoppers continue to look for bargains, the report said.

Thomson Reuters data showed that for January, a group of nine retailers with comparable monthly sales reported a 3.6% increase. This compared with the 4.9% rise recorded the year before, the report said.

Incorporated in 1976, Bebe's lifestyle categories offer separates, tops, dresses, active wear and accessories. Its distinct lines of women's apparel and accessories include wear-to-work, weekend and party. Its merchandise is designed and developed in-house and made to its specifications, information from Reuters showed.

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