Struggling apparel retailer Bebe Stores to shut all stores

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Bebe has stores at Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets in Mercedes, Sunrise Mall in Brownsville and La Plaza in McAllen.

Bebe is closing all its stores, the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to get dumped by customers who would rather shop with their phones than their feet.

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The retailer has been considering its brick-and-mortar plan for a while.

Bebe had said in March that it would explore "strategic alternatives for the company", which often includes a sale. But as the recession changed consumer shopping habits, in addition to the rise of fast-fashion chains like H&M and Zara, Bebe started to slowly decline. Net sales for the formerly profitable Bebe were $101.9 million in the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, a decrease of 16.8 percent from $122.4 million reported for the second quarter a year ago.

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Earlier this month, youth fashion retailer Rue21 said it is closing 400 stores amid e-commerce pressures. In a Securities Exchange Commission filing dated Tuesday, Bebe said by the end of May it will close all of its locations, including three in Tampa Bay. Amazon, the behemoth of online retail, is seizing market share from more traditional retailers, though bargain-hunters are keeping T.J. Maxx and Dollar General in business.

Department stores including JCPenney, Macy's, Sears and Kmart have all announced store closures this year, along with some other mall-based stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Guess.

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Apparently, this store closure plan has been something that's been on the table for a while.

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