By Jessica DiNapoli
(Reuters) – Gymboree Group Inc, a U.S. retailer of infant and children’s clothing, is considering closing more than half of its approximately 900 stores, people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The move would be a setback for Gymboree after it emerged from bankruptcy last year. It was one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers that managed to escape liquidation in a wave of bankruptcies that swept the sector, amid the rise of online shopping.
Gymboree has hired consulting firm Berkley Research Group LLC to assist it in evaluating options, which could include filing for bankruptcy again, the sources said. Berkley Research Group will also help cut costs and analyze the mall-based chain’s leases, the people said.
This effort could help determine Gymboree’s future. Without the cooperation of landlords willing to give rent breaks, struggling retailers are often forced to file for bankruptcy as a way to get out of their store leases.
The sources asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Gymboree declined to comment, while Berkley Research Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.