Aeropostale Singapore outlets to 'stay open for time being'; US retailer set to file for bankruptcy this week

An Aeropostale store in Broomfield, Colorado, in 2015.
An Aeropostale store in Broomfield, Colorado, in 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Aeropostale's outlets here will remain open "for the time being", as the US teen clothing retailer looks set to file for bankruptcy this week and may close over 100 stores.

Jay Gee Melwani Group, distributor of the brand here and in Malaysia, told The Straits Times that it has not heard from New York-based Aeropostale about upcoming plans.

The Singapore firm operates four Aeropostale outlets in Singapore - at Bugis+, VivoCity, Ngee Ann City and Jurong Point - and two stores in Malaysia.

"The stores will remain open for the time being, as long as they are able to supply us the goods," Jay Gee Melwani managing director R Dhinakaran told the Straits Times on Tuesday (May 3).

"We are still waiting to hear from them regarding the future direction," he said.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Aeropostale is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection this week and close more than 100 stores.

Faced with mounting losses and falling sales, Aeropostale plans to seek chapter 11 protection in the next few days before May rent payments are due, said the Journal, quoting unidentified sources.

The retailer will close more than 100 of its roughly 800 stores soon after filing and potentially more later, the Journal added.

The report said Aeropostale intends to reorganise around its remaining stores, but the specific details of its restructuring plan remain unclear.

In the US, several mall-based specialty retailers have filed for bankruptcy in recent years as young consumers spurn branded clothing in favour fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21, Uniqlo, and H&M, said the Journal.

Last year, women's retailer Cache Inc, teen-focused Wet Seal and surfwear seller Quiksilver Inc filed for chapter 11 protection.

Aeropostale, which opened its first store in 1987 and enjoyed a market capitalisation of nearly US$3 billion in 2010, posted losses in its last three fiscal years as sales plunged.

Its market value now stands at about US$2.9 million, said the Journal.

The Singapore retail scene has also seen several big name closures amid tough conditions.

Last month, Jay Gee Melwani said it will shutter eight stores in various malls showcasing the British brand New Look and French menswear chain Celio in the second half of the year.

This followed Al-Futtaim Group announcing it will shut 10 loss-making outlets here under its distribution and retailing arm RSH later this year.