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177-Store Chain Anchor Blue Files for Bankruptcy

Levi Strauss & Co. will acquire the operating rights to 73 locations that were licensed to privately held Anchor Blue Retail Group Inc., which concurrently announced it is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

If the acquisition is made, the deal would significantly boost the jeans maker's U.S. store count. As of Wednesday, Levi operated 17 Levi's locations and seven Dockers outlet stores. Anchor Blue and its predecessor companies had been Levi's outlet licensing partner since the early 1990s, according to Levi spokesman Jeff Beckman.

"The outlet channel is poised for continued growth over the near- and long-term," said Levi's President Robert Hanson. "We believe that this transaction will strengthen our ability to manage our brands' positioning effectively in the outlet channel" and "provide a profitable growth opportunity" for the company.

Levi's said the transaction, which involved Levi's and Dockers Outlet by MOST stores, included inventory, fixtures and equipment associated with the store. The transaction is expected to close in July.

Meanwhile, Anchor Blue said as part of its bankruptcy filing it will close about 50 underperforming stores, with many locations in such hard-hit states as Arizona, California and Florida. The company had operated 177 stores in 12 states.

Link.

Bankruptcies and Liquidations:

Potential Bankruptcies & Liquidation Impact: 1,518 confirmed closures out of about 2,915 stores

Announced Closings

Total Closings: up to 1,440 U.S. stores

Potential Impact of All Announcements to Date: 2,958 closures out of up to 4,355 potentially affected U.S. stores

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