Amid extensive reports that it will close all 170 of its brick-and-mortar stores, Brisbane-based women’s apparel retailer Bebe Stores Inc. has posted notice that it will lay off a combined 40 employees at its three Sacramento-area sites.
Like other retailers, Bebe, started in 1976 in San Francisco, has been struggling against stiff competition from online retailers, including Amazon.com.
While the company has been playing its future plans close to the vest, the California Employment Development Department recently received standard “WARN Act” letters informing EDD of upcoming layoffs at Arden Fair mall in Sacramento (18 jobs), Westfield Galleria at Roseville (12 jobs) and at Folsom Premium Outlets (10 positions). All were related to permanent closure.
All three letters cite “news reports” but then say the closures are “part of Bebe’s decision to close all of its brick-and-mortar store locations nationwide.” The letters say that job losses in connection with the closures are expected to occur “on or about May 27.”
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The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires large businesses to give early warning of layoffs and closures.
The local WARN Act letters were among 36 notices received by EDD for Bebe sites throughout the state, with combined layoffs of more than 600 at those sites, including 136 in Brisbane.
Attempts to get comment from Bebe on Tuesday were unsuccessful.
However, similar layoff notices have been reported in Atlanta, Houston and throughout south Florida.
According to multiple reports, Bebe is in the process of closing all its stores and making the transition to become an online-only operation.
In late March, Bebe announced that its board of directors was “exploring strategic alternatives for the company” and was working with a financial adviser and real estate adviser “to assist with options related to its lease holdings.”