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Annie Sez Chain Owner Said to Plan Bankruptcy Filing Next Week

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Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Big M Inc., the owner of the Annie sez and Mandee clothing chains, may seek protection from creditors as early as next week, two people familiar with the matter said.

The company operates more than 150 stores and is seeking to reorganize, shut some locations and possibly move all of the stores under the Mandee name, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

Big M was founded by the Mandelbaum family in 1948, according to Mandee’s website. Mandee sells clothing aimed at women aged 16 to 35, while Annie sez offers designer merchandise at discounts, targeting women 25 and older.

Alan Mandelbaum, son of company co-founder Max Mandelbaum, became CEO in September, according to an October report in The Record, a newspaper in northern New Jersey.

Mandelbaum didn’t immediately return calls seeking comment yesterday. Renee Zuckerman, head of marketing and creative, declined to comment on whether the company was about to file for bankruptcy, saying that the firm’s policy is not to comment on financial matters.

Annie sez, with a contact address in Secaucus, New Jersey, opened in 1974 and has 14 stores in New York and 16 in New Jersey, according to its website. Other stores are in Connecticut, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The U.S. economic slowdown since 2008 has helped to drive other retailers into bankruptcy, including Loehmann’s Holdings Inc., Circuit City Stores Inc. and Borders Group Inc.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at llochner@bloomberg.net; Tiffany Kary in New York at tkary@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net; Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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