March 7 (UPI) -- Fashion retailer Charlotte Russe said Wednesday it will close more than 500 retail stores in the United States after it failed to find a buyer while in bankruptcy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein approved the company's request to liquidate its assets. Charlotte Russe initially received approval to close 94 stores when it first filed for bankruptcy in February as it searched for a buyer.
"We are partnering with the buyer and remain in talks to sell the (intellectual property), are optimistic about the future of the brand, and remain in ongoing negotiations with a buyer who has expressed interest in a continued brick and mortar presence," the company told USA Today.
The retailer received $50 million from lenders to continue operating Charlotte Russe and Peek locations and the website during bankruptcy.
Private equity firm Advent International bought Charlotte Russe for $380 million in 2009, but canceled its shares in a 2017 balance-sheet restructuring that saw lenders swap out debt they were owed for equity, according to court documents.
Charlotte Russe sales fell from $928 million in 2017 to $795 million in 2018, while the company reached a deal to shed nearly $225 billion in debt.
The closings follow a wave of bankruptcies and closings in retail industry this year. Gymboree filed and closed 749 stores and Payless ShoeSource followed by scheduling 2,100 stores for closure. It was the second time Payless filed for bankruptcy in three years. The first in 2017 closed nearly 700 stores and cut $435 million in debt.