Cache Is Said to Plan Liquidation After Bankruptcy Filing

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Cache Inc., the women’s clothing chain known for helping popularize Armani and Versace designs in the U.S., is planning to liquidate the company after filing for bankruptcy, according to people familiar with the situation.

The retailer has sought bids for firms that can help shut down all its stores and sell assets in a bankruptcy, said the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the process isn’t public. While it’s possible a last-minute buyer could emerge for the chain, Cache is unlikely to continue operating, the people said. Bloomberg News reported last week that the clothing chain was close to filing for bankruptcy.

Cache reiterated today that the retailer is mulling its options, which could involve preserving the business.

“As previously announced, Cache is considering a variety of strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company to a strategic partner and the raising of new capital,” New York-based Cache said in an e-mailed statement. “These may be facilitated through the Chapter 11 process with the goal of preserving the company as a going concern.”

A liquidation would add Cache to the ranks of other mall-based retailers that have ceased operations since the end of last year, including Delia’s Inc., Deb Stores and Body Central.

Fashion Competition

Unlike those chains, Cache is based in more upscale shopping centers, many of which are still thriving. Still, the company faces pressure from e-commerce sites and fast-fashion rivals such as Hennes & Mauritz AB, which offer a cheaper alternative. Americans also are spending less money on clothing in general, with a bigger portion of their budgets going to entertainment and mobile-phone bills.

Cache fell 11 percent to less than 5 cents as of 2:52 p.m. on Friday in New York. The shares plunged 96 percent last year as its troubles mounted.

Marilyn Rubinson, a Brooklyn-born housewife, opened the first Cache store in Miami in the mid-1970s. The chain now operates 237 boutiques in what it describes as “high-traffic upscale” malls in 43 states. According to the company, Rubinson was the first to bring the Mugler, Armani and Versace brands to the U.S.

This would be Cache’s second trip to bankruptcy court. It filed a Chapter 11 petition in 1986 and emerged in 1988.