Syms Corp., the owner of Filene’s Basement, announced today that both companies have filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. Rather than reorganize its finances and continue operating, though, Syms said it concluded that liquidation was the best move for shareholders.
The 102-year-old Filene's had been in bankruptcy in 2009 when Syms, founded in 1959, acquired the retailer's assets in a bankruptcy auction.
But a turnaround wasn't possible.
In a statement, Syms CEO Marcy Syms said: “This has been a challenging time for Syms and Filene’s Basement. We have been faced with increased competition from large department stores that now offer the same brands as our stores at similar discounts; a proliferation of private label discount chains; a decline in buying opportunities as brand name labels have reduced overruns by improving their supply chain management – all combined with the worst economic downturn in our lifetimes.
“All these factors affected both chains and they came at a time when Filene’s Basement, which was just emerging from bankruptcy, was already waging an uphill battle to rebuild its customer base."
Filene’s Basement has two stores in Maryland. One is near the Inner Harbor in Baltimore and the other in Rockville.
Syms and Filene’s must get court approval for their plan. If the court gives the thumbs up, liquidation and going out of business sales would go through January.