Niagara Gazette

Local News

November 20, 2008

WHEATFIELD: Steve & Barry’s to close at The Summit

The retailer will close all stores nationwide by early 2009

After escaping a round of closings earlier this year, the Steve & Barry’s at The Summit mall will be liquidated — along with the rest of the company’s remaining 173 stores.

The discount retailer is reportedly going out of business for good, less than three months after investment firms acquired the chain out of bankruptcy for $168 million.

Mall General Manager Brian Marciniak said he had heard rumors of closings but nothing confirmed and could not comment.

David Rizzo, the store manager at the Summit’s Steve & Barry’s location, said he had read news reports of possible closings but had not heard any word for corporate headquarters.

The news of possible closings was surprising, he said — The Summit location had seemed to be performing well given the current economic climate.

“I’ve been thinking we’ve been having pretty decent sales,” he said. “Definitely not like last year, but that’s to be expected in this economy.”

The closing of Steve & Barry’s would likely be a blow to the struggling Summit mall, for which the discount store offered hope for a turnaround when it moved in a three years ago.

Steve & Barry’s is one of four anchor stores at The Summit, the others being Bon-Ton, Save-A-Lot and Sears. In 2005, Steve & Barry’s took over space left vacant since 1998 when department store Jenss left the mall.

The retailer and its owner, affiliates of Bay Harbour Management and York Capital Management, said in a bankruptcy court filing Wednesday that they have joined with liquidator Great American Group LLC to liquidate all inventory in remaining stores by the end of this year or early next year.

“For various reasons, including the general health of the American economy and the state of the retail market in particular, sales at all stores have been disappointing,” the documents filed with the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York stated.

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