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Fashion retailer bebe closing all of its stores

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By RICK KELLEY Staff Writer,  writer

HARLINGEN — Women’s fashion retailer Bebe Stores Inc. announced Friday it would close all 180 of its stores.

Bebe has stores at Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes, Sunrise Mall in Brownsville and La Plaza in McAllen.

The fashion retailer has suffered four straight years of losses.

In a regulatory filing, company officials said they would liquidate all merchandise and fixtures inside their stores.

Bebe is the latest casualty in what almost seems a race of brick-and-mortar retailers heading to insolvency, unable to compete with online sales.

JC Penney, Macy’s, Sears and Kmart have announced major store closures this year, along with chains like Payless, Crocs, BCBG, Abercrombie and Fitch, Guess and rue21.

Apparel retailers have been especially hard-hit, including Aeropostale and The Limited, both of which went into bankruptcy, Reuters news agency reported.

Shares of Bebe hit a 14-month low of $3.02 in trading Friday.

Last month Bloomberg reported that Bebe was planning to shut just 21 stores and instead become an online-only seller of women’s fashion merchandise.

It was unclear Friday whether Bebe will retain an online presence for its merchandise.

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