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Steve & Barry's to close 100 stores; may liquidate
[July 07, 2008]

Steve & Barry's to close 100 stores; may liquidate

(Newsday (Melville, NY) (KRT) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jul. 4--Steve & Barry's, the Port Washington-based clothing retailer that opened more than 200 dress-down stores in the past few years and is the home of splashy but low-price apparel and footwear by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Stephon Marbury, plans to close 100 outlets and is considering liquidation if it can't find emergency financing, according to a published report.

The Wall Street Journal, citing "people familiar with the company," said Steve & Barry's is seeking about $40 million in financing if it must file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Rachel Brenner, a Steve & Barry's spokeswoman, said yesterday the company would have no comment on the report in the Journal.

The article did not cite any reasons for financial problems at Steve & Barry's.

As recently as March, a Newsday story quoted executives at Steve & Barry, a privately owned company, saying it has been growing from 30 percent to 100 percent a year for 15 years.

Steve & Barry's has more than 270 stores in 38 states. Its Long Island outlets are in Hicksville, Westbury, Massapequa and Medford.

Steve & Barry's is known for its dress-down, sporty clothing. No item in the store sells for more than $20.

The chain earlier this year created high-profile fashion and footwear lines with actresses Parker and Amanda Bynes, as well as athletes Marbury and Venus Williams.

Late last year, Howard Schacter, Steve & Barry's chief partnership officer, told Newsday that the company had had "an unprecedented year of growth," and that it had "added more square footage than any specialty retailer in the country."

Nonetheless, Schacter said, in December Steve & Barry's laid off 170 people, less than 1 percent of its total workforce of about 17,000.

"We didn't achieve every one of our very high goals," Schacter said in the interview. "It's the nature of our business." He did not return a phone call yesterday.

The founders and current co-chief executives, Steve Shore of Merrick and Barry Prevor of Syosset, who had been teenage friends, began selling bargain-priced T-shirts at flea markets in the late 1970s. Later, they opened stores specializing in college-logo apparel.

FASHION FRONTMEN: Steve & Barry's has more than 270 stores in 38 states.

Long Island outlets are in Hicksville, Westbury, Massapequa and Medford.

Founders and co-chief executives Steve Shore of Merrick and Barry Prevor of Syosset had been teenage friends. They opened their first store near Philadelphia's University of Pennsylvania in 1985.

Key creators of apparel and footwear include Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes, Stephon Marbury and Venus Williams.

By James Bernstein and Keiko Morris

To see more of Newsday, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.newsday.com

Copyright (c) 2008, Newsday, Melville, N.Y.
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