Business

Filene’s Basement, Syms Going Out Of Business

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CHICAGO (CBS) — You won’t be seeing long lines on State Street in the wee hours of the morning anymore for the running of the brides at Filene’s Basement.

Bargain shoppers will be sad to hear that the discount retailer Syms Corp., parent company of Filene’s and Syms stores, has filed for bankruptcy protection for a third time and will be going out of business. What this means is that all Filene’s Basement and Syms stores will close.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Lisa Fielding reports

The latest bankruptcy filing came on Wednesday.

Syms chief executive officer Marcy Syms said in a statement that Filene’s and Syms stores have faced stiff competition from large department stores that now offer similar discounts on the same brands, as well as a “proliferation” of private-label discount chains.

Syms also blames a decline in buying opportunities for the company’s stores because the name brands have reduced the overruns that made up the inventory at Filene’s and Syms. On top of that, Syms says, has been “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,” Syms said in the release.

Once a bankruptcy court approves, going out of business sales will begin at all Filene’s Basement and Syms stores Liquidation is expected to be complete by the end of January, after which point the stores will go the way of Wieboldt’s and Goldblatt’s.

Filene’s Basement was founded in 1909 by William Filene, who started an overstock store in the basement of the Boston Filene’s Department Store owned by his father, Edward A. Filene.

Filene’s Basement became a separate company from Filene’s Department stores in 1988, and like Chicago’s Marshall Field’s, the old Filene’s Department Stores were turned into Macy’s stores in 2006.

Syms was founded in 1959, and acquired Filene’s Basement – then in bankruptcy itself – two years ago.

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