Annapolis Clothing files for bankruptcy, plans to close 6 stores


Annapolis Clothing Co., a Glen Burnie-based women's sports- and career-wear chain with 13 stores in Maryland, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and plans to close six stores in the area.

The retailer's assets were listed at $2.3 million and its debts at $1.9 million in papers filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore and made available to the public yesterday.

Annapolis Clothing is seeking bankruptcy-court approval to close the six stores as part of a plan to restore profitability. Two will be closed at Towson Market Place, two at Saint Thomas Shopping Center in Owings Mills and two at Pasadena Festival on Ritchie Highway, said Annapolis Clothing's lawyer, Lawrence D. Coppel of Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander.

Annapolis Clothing operates under two banners, its flagship Annapolis Clothing stores and Annapolis Woman, which sells clothing for full-figured women. Stores of the two divisions, which sell brand-name clothing at discounted prices, are usually paired at shopping centers that are near large malls.

The three Annapolis Clothing stores and three Annapolis Woman stores could be closed within 45 days following yet-to-be-announced bankruptcy sales, Mr. Coppel said.

"We think the company can be restructured and made profitable by eliminating poorer stores and reducing overhead," Mr. Coppel said. "Also, we'll need some help from the economy."

Fourth-quarter earnings at the privately held clothier were down 25 percent from those in the same quarter of 1989, Mr. Coppel said.

"They've been in business 13 years and have developed a following, but they had a very poor Christmas season," he said. "Their working capital wasn't enough to pull them through the disastrous selling season."

Increased competition from other retailers and a sluggish economy added to the retailer's woes, he said. Annapolis Clothing's annual reve

nues are about $11 million.

Founded in 1978 on West Street in Annapolis by Merle A. Lebowitz, the chain did most of its growing in the 1980s and has not added a store in several years, said office manager Kathy Krupp. The company has about 150 employees, she said.

Mr. Lebowitz, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, owns Annapolis Clothing with his wife, Suzanne. He is the company's president and chief executive officer. His wife is not involved in the day-to-day operations of the company.

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