EVERETT — Steve &Barry’s, the once-hot clothing retailer that ran into financial trouble earlier this year, will keep its Everett Mall store open even as it shuts down more than 100 other locations.
The chain’s store in Olympia is the only one of the three Steve &Barry’s in the Puget Sound area slated for closure, according to the New York-based company.
The rest will continue operating under the ownership of BH S&B Holdings, an affiliate of investment firms Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management. The firm recently bought Steve &Barry’s out of bankruptcy for $163 million and announced plans to run 170 stores, down from 276 locations before bankruptcy proceedings began.
“BH S&B Holdings announced that it intends to run a smaller base of Steve &Barry’s stores, better positioning the company to reach its profitability goals,” spokesman Howard Schacter said in a written statement.
Steve &Barry’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July after its rapid growth plans were crimped by the credit crunch and slower retail spending. Just a couple of years ago, it was among the nation’s hottest retailers, thanks to its goal of carrying mostly clothes that sell for less than $20 and featuring clothing lines tied in with celebrities.
The chain was founded more than 20 years ago by childhood friends who sold University of Pennsylvania clothing at prices that undercut the university’s bookstore. A decade ago, Steve &Barry’s opened its first large mall-based store, and then took off with expansion.
The Everett Mall store opened in June 2007, filling 79,000 square feet left empty by Mervyn’s departure in 2006. Linda Johannes, Everett Mall’s general manager, said the store has drawn customers from a large area extending from Bellingham to Seattle.
“We’re thrilled. Steve &Barry’s has been very successful in this market and it fills a need for affordable family attire,” Johannes said.