Retailer bebe stores offers apparel in two main sizes: slim and
none. bebe (pronounced "beebee") designs and sells contemporary
women's career, evening, and casual clothing and accessories
under the bebe and 2b bebe banners through some 250 stores in the
US, Canada, and Puerto Rico; abroad through licensees; and online.
The company targets hip, "body-conscious" (some say skinny) 21- to
34-year-olds. bebe also licenses its name for items such as
eyewear and swimwear. The majority of bebe's products are designed
in-house and produced by contract manufacturers. Manny Mashouf, who
founded bebe in 1976, controls the company.
Mashouf stepped down as CEO in 2013 and was succeeded by Steve
Birkhold, formerly president and CEO of Lacoste North America.
Mashouf became non-executive chairman.
Net sales by the women's apparel retailer have fallen about
28%: from more than $687 million in fiscal 2008 (ends June) to
about $493 million in fiscal 2011. The company closed about 50
stores over the period and same-store sales logged double-digit
declines in two of the last four years. Same-store sales were
essentially flat in 2011, suggesting that the worst may be behind
The retailer shuttered all 49 of its PH8 stores in
fiscal 2011, to focus on improving financial performance at its
core bebe chain and further develop its 2b bebe business. (The PH8
shops, which sold sexy, casual weekend apparel, work-out clothes,
and related accessories, did not meet sales expectations.) The
shutdown came not long after the company converted all of
its BEBE SPORT stores (launched in 2003) in North America
to the PH8 banner. (The company retained the BEBE
SPORT trademark however and continues to sell some BEBE SPORT
merchandise at its other retail stores.) About 10 more stores are
slated to close in fiscal 2012.
While bebe's US store count has declined, it continues to grow
its international retail presence, increasing the number of stores
operated by licensees from about 50 to 60 locations last
year in more than 15 countries including Egypt, Indonesia,
Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Thailand, Turkey, and the
United Arab Emirates. Bebe plans to double the number of licensed
stores -- both stand-alone and shop-in-shop locations -- in fiscal
2012. New markets will include India and South Korea. Bebe supplies
its licensees with apparel, shoes, and accessories. Wholesale
revenue accounted for about 6% of the company's total fiscal 2011
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