Charlotte Russe files for bankruptcy, Arnot Mall location not affected

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Charlotte Russe has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to close 94 stores, the company announced Monday.

Management at the Arnot Mall location said the store will not close.

The young women’s clothing chain becomes the latest mall-based retailer to file for bankruptcy protection, and joins a list that includes Gymboree, Claire’s, and Mattress Firm.

In a court filing Monday, Charlotte Russe, which operates 500 stores in malls around the country, said it “suffered from a dramatic decrease in sales and in-store traffic” and struggled with “the burden of maintaining a large brick-and-mortar presence.”

The company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy with a new owner and a lighter balance sheet. It secured $50 million from lenders to continue running about 400 Charlotte Russe and Peek Children’s stores, as well as its website, during the bankruptcy.

Poor sales and too much debt hurt the retailer.

In 2009, private equity firm Advent International bought Charlotte Russe in a $380 million cash-for-stock deal.

Last year, Charlotte Russe reached a deal to reduce its debt from $214 million to $90 million. Despite the deal, Charlotte Russe’s sales plunged from $928 million in 2017 to $795 million last year.

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