Bebe to shut down 2b stores

Bebe (NASDAQ:BEBE) will discontinue selling its 2b brand as part of the company's on-going turnaround plans.

The decision to exit the 2b business by the end of fiscal 2014, will help the apparel brand to focus on its core Bebe brand's retail and outlet stores, including the e-commerce business. This is just one of several key initiatives in the company's effort to generate approximately $9 million to $10 million in annualized pre-tax savings for fiscal 2015.

The 2b brand is currently found online and at 16 mall-based stores.

Bebe has also begun a cost reduction program across the board. Other cost-saving maneuvers will include reductions in corporate and field management positions and the general workforce.

"The steps we are announcing today build on our turnaround efforts from the past year," said Jim Wiggett, interim CEO. "Through the closing of our unprofitable 2b brand, and the cost reduction program, we will be better positioned financially and structurally to focus on the core Bebe brand."

As part of the retailer's transition, Steve Birkhold recently resigned as CEO, leaving Wiggett, CEO for Jackson Hole Group, to serve in the interim.

"Our objective is to drive long term growth and sustainable profitability. We will also continue to focus on our merchandising, marketing and operational strategies to reposition the Bebe brand," added Wiggett.

Bebe is hoping to turn the company around and better compete with stores such as Forever 21, which successfully expanded its brand this year. In April, Forever 21 launched F21 Red, a line of lower-priced items.

But Bebe is not alone in its struggle. Juicy Couture just announced it would close all of its U.S. retail locations to focus on international operations and introduce a new "pink label" to be sold at Kohl's.

For more:
-See this Bebe press release

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