The Real Deal Chicago

Gymboree files for bankruptcy again, closing some 900 North American stores

The San Francisco-based company has a bidder for its Janie and Jack stores
January 19, 2019 12:00PM

Gymboree CEO Daniel Griesemer and a Gymboree (Credit: LinkedIn and Getty Images)

Gymboree Group filed for bankruptcy this week and plans to close some 900 Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores in North America.

The San Francisco-based children’s clothing company also has an agreement with Special Situations Investing Group, an affiliate of Goldman Sachs Group, to become the lead bidder for the chain’s Janie and Jack stores and other company assets, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Gymboree first filed for bankruptcy protection in June 2017, weighed down by more than $1 billion in debt. It closed 375 stores, slashed $900 million in debt and turned over control to its lenders, but couldn’t make the fresh start it had hoped for.

Gymboree becomes the latest casualty of the changing retail landscape driven by surging e-commerce sales. The death of national chains including Sports Authority, Carson’s and Toys “R” Us has left retail landlords with vast amounts of vacant big-box space, forcing some to diversify their tenant base.

They dodged another bullet this week, though, when Sears won yet another last-minute reprieve from liquidation that will keep 425 stores open — at least for now. [WSJ] — John O’Brien