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Rue21 closing local stores

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Teen apparel retailer rue21 filed Monday for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pennsylvania, a move that will affect stores in Washington state.

The retailer has 18 stores in Washington state. It plans to close these Seattle area locations in June at the Everett Mall, The Landing in Renton and Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham.

The company has 1,179 stores in 48 states, but started closing what it said are approximately 400 underperforming stores to streamline the company’s operations.

The retailer said the restructuring is a move to become more focused.

“These actions are being undertaken with the goal of strengthening the company’s balance sheet, achieving a more efficient cost structure and concentrating resources on a tighter retail footprint in order to pave the best path forward for rue21,” CEO Melanie Cox said.

The retailer did not say how many employees will be affected.

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