Bebe stores hires adviser for potential sale, say sources-Reuters

(Reuters) – Contemporary women’s retailer Bebe Stores Inc is exploring a potential sale and is reaching out to private equity firms, according to people familiar with the matter on Friday.

The Brisbane, California-based company, known for its formfitting dresses and other apparel, has hired Guggenheim Securities to help with the process, the people said, asking not be identified because the matter is not public.

Bebe stores could not be immediately reached for comment and Guggenheim declined to comment.

Bebe stores operates 228 stores, including those under the bebe brand name and 2b bebe name.

The stores are located in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada. Bebe also sells apparel online and distributes and sells branded items through licensees in 26 countries.

Shares of Bebe jumped more than 14 percent on Friday after investors expressed relief that the company’s same-store sales fell only 1.9 percent in the second quarter, compared to a 2.8 decrease in the first quarter.

U.S. retailers have been hit hard as shoppers continue to seek out bargains.

A group of nine retailers that report comparable monthly sales posted a 3.6 percent rise for January, below the 4.9 percent pace a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters.