Bethany Clough

These four chain stores are bankrupt. So what’s next for these Fresno and Clovis retailers?

See four familiar retailers filing for bankruptcy

Retailers including Gymboree, Payless Shoesource, Charlotte Russe and Things Remembered are all filing for bankruptcy.
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Retailers including Gymboree, Payless Shoesource, Charlotte Russe and Things Remembered are all filing for bankruptcy.

A flurry of familiar chain stores in the Fresno area has filed for bankruptcy.

Some are closing. The future of others are still up in the air.

But the retailers are facing many of the same challenges: Competition from online shopping, crushing debt and an inability to adapt to the changing retail world.

Bankruptcy doesn’t always mean stores will close. Some companies emerge from bankruptcy leaner and healthier.

If you’re a shopper, though, bankruptcy is a red flag. If you have a gift card to any of these stores, use it as soon as possible. If you need to make a return, do it now. And of course, check out the sales if the stores do end up closing.

Here’s which retailer is doing what.

Payless Shoesource is closing all its 2,100 stores in the United States and Puerto Rico and its online store. The stores will stay open until at least the end of March, with many staying open until the end of a May.

Gift cards can be used until March 11. As of Monday, shoes were 20 percent off at the Fashion Fair Payless store.

Payless has seven stores in Fresno and Clovis and even more in outlying areas. It’s already had several rounds of closures in recent years, but now is closing all remaining stores.

This is the second time in two years that Payless filed for bankruptcy. This time around, the retailer has $470 million in debt that it couldn’t overcome.

Gymboree is closing all its 534 children’s clothing stores with that name, along with all the 254 Crazy 8 stores it owns, which also sell children’s clothing. The company also filed for bankruptcy twice in the last two years.

Gymboree is midway through its going-out-of-business store at Fashion Fair, with merchandise 40 percent to 60 percent off. Other Gymboree stores at the Visalia Mall and Tulare Outlets are also closing.

The Crazy 8 store at River Park closed a while back and a Crazy 8 in Visalia Mall will also close.

Slipping sales and “the unanticipated degree of decline of the brick-and-mortar retail industry” led to its demise, according to the company.

Things Remembered is closing some stores, but not others. The retailer known for engraving messages on everything from jewelry to pocket knives is being bought by Enesco, a global seller of gifts, home decor and accessories.

Things Remembered filed for bankruptcy as part of the deal.

What that means for Valley shoppers is that the Fresno store at Fashion Fair will remain open, but stores at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis and in the Visalia Mall will close. The Visalia store is scheduled to close Feb. 26, according to an employee.

Charlotte Russe, the young women’s clothing store, is also in bankruptcy and its future is up in the air.

It has already announced it’s closing 94 stores, though none are in our area. The company faces a cash shortage and has $120 million in debt, according to Reuters news agency. It’s the second time the retailer has been in bankruptcy in the last three years.

The company is talking to potential buyers who could rescue the chain and keep stores open, according to USA Today. But it is also working on a plan B if that doesn’t happen and could start closing stores around March 7 if no buyer comes through.

Charlotte Russe has one store in Fresno at Fashion Fair.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.

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