Syms, Filene’s Basement file for bankruptcy, plan to liquidate

SECAUCUS, N.J. — Syms Corp. and its Filene’s Basement subsidiary said Wednesday that they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will liquidate all stores and assets over the coming several months. Syms acquired the century-old Filene’s out of bankruptcy in 2009 for $63 million.

“This has been a challenging time for Syms and Filene’s Basement,” said Marcy Syms, CEO. “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.”

According to Syms, Tuesday’s filing comes after several months of examining strategic alternatives. The company said it received no “viable bids” from anyone willing to operate the business.

“A bankruptcy filing and liquidation is the best way of maximizing value for all stakeholders,” said Syms.

The liquidation of Syms and Filene’s stores is expected to run through approximately January 2012. Syms and Filene’s Basement are seeking court approval to retain an agent to handle the liquidation of merchandise and for authorization to conduct going out of business sales.

The company listed assets of $236 million, including $97.7 million in real estate inventories, and liabilities of $94 million, according to a statement filed with the Chapter 11 petition on Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

Syms operates 25 namesake stores and 21 Filene’s Basement locations.