Bebe reorganizes

Bebe Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:BEBE) is in the process of reorganizing its brand in an attempt to tone down its previous party-girl image. As part of the change, the company is cutting more than 50 jobs, primarily in design, merchandising and production, so it can focus on a streamlined lifestyle assortment. The repositioning of the women's apparel chain is part of the agenda of  CEO Jim Wiggett, who took control of the company in December.

In addition, non-executive chairman Manny Mashouf will jump back into working closely with the design and merchandise teams, and the board has approved a $5 million share repurchase program, reported Women's Wear Daily.

"Following a detailed review of our business, the company made the strategic decision to narrow our merchandise focus and increase our emphasis on lifestyle assortments that most closely align with our customers' needs," Wiggett told Women's Wear Daily. "We believe this will position us to maintain a more consistent and better edited offering of fashion that is true to the Bebe brand."

Mashouf was the founder of the company and was chairman and CEO until January 2013, when he turned the post over to Steve Birkhold. But Birkhold resigned in June 2014 after 17 months of declining sales.

Bebe, like other teen and millennial retailers, have had a slow recovery along with the economy. These brands struggle to compete with fast-fashion brands such as H&M and Forever 21.

Wiggitt said the tides are slowly turning, and in September, Bebe turned out positive comparable store sales. As the company prepares for the second half of 2016, it will continue to evaluate the cost structure.

For more:
-See this Women's Wear Daily article (subscription)

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