Kids retailer Gymboree files for bankruptcy protection, all 49 Canadian stores to close

Gymboree has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time in as many years, but this time the children's clothing retailer will begin winding down operations for good.

Chain has 380 locations in the U.S. and Canada, and all are slated to be closed

Gymboree has 380 locations across the U.S. and Canada, including other brands such as Crazy 8 and Janie and Jack. (Bloomberg)

Gymboree has filed for bankruptcy protection for a second time in as many years, but this time the children's clothing retailer will begin winding down operations for good.

The San Francisco company said late Wednesday that it will close all of its Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores and attempt to sell its Janie and Jack business, intellectual property and online business.

"The company has worked diligently in recent months to explore options for Gymboree Group and its brands, and we are saddened and highly disappointed that we must move ahead with a wind-down of the Gymboree and Crazy 8 businesses," CEO Shaz Kahng said in a statement.

Gymboree, which began offering classes for mothers and their children in 1976, runs 380 Gymboree stores in North America, of which 49 are in Canada. When it first sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2017, it had more than three times that many stores.

If officials approve the process, all remaining stores will be closed.

The company has suffered in the post-recession years like most mall-based retail stores. Steep declines in mall traffic and the shift online have devastated many traditional retailers. This week, 132-year-old department-store chain Sears averted liquidation when billionaire Eddie Lampert won tentative approval for a $5-billion plan to keep it in business.

The holidays, the most important time of the year in retail, was not nearly as robust as most had expected it to be. Macy's suffered its worst-ever day of trading after putting up lacklustre holiday numbers, and Kohl's reported a dramatic slowdown from a year ago. Macy's is considered a barometer of spending in malls.

Before the opening bell Thursday, retailers were among the worst performers on the S&P 500.

Gymboree was bought by the private equity firm Bain Capital for $1.8 billion in 2010 and taken private.

With files from CBC News

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.