Syms-Filene's Basement closing store in Fairfield
The Fairfield outlet for discount retailer Syms Corp. and its subsidiary Filene's Basement will soon close as the company gradually shutters all 46 of its stores after filing for bankruptcy protection.
The 43,000-square-foot store is expected to remain open through January as part of the company's plan to liquidate inventory at all of its locations, including its only other store in the state in Hartford.
The Fairfield store, which employs 28 workers, was built by Syms and opened at 652 Commerce Drive in 1994.
Syms plans to sell the local building -- at the Black Rock Turnpike-Kings Highway traffic circle -- through Cushman & Wakefield as part of the company's plans to divest its properties, according to documents filed in bankruptcy court.
The Syms property, which sits across Commerce Drive from a 23,110-square-foot commercial space that has been empty about a year since Edge of Fairfield moved out, should not be vacant long, said Mark Barnhart, Fairfield's director of economic development.
"It's a prime redevelopment location," he said. "We're just beginning to look at opportunities there."
Publicly traded Syms, which acquired Filene's Basement in 2009 for $62.4 million, filed for bankruptcy in early November after announcing in May that it was exploring strategic options, including a potential sale.
Company CEO Marcy Syms said in a statement that the two discount chains have faced more competition from department stores offering the same brands at similar discounts and a rising number of private-label discounters. She also said there was less overstock for her company to buy as businesses better manage their inventory in a tough economy.
Syms said the company's board of directors decided after several months that a bankruptcy filing and liquidation is "the best way of maximizing value for all stakeholders."
"I'm sure the economy played a role, but it's just the nature of retail," he said.
Syms Corp., which employs 2,450 workers overall, was founded in 1959 by Sy Syms. Filene's, the predecessor of Filene's Basement, was founded in 1909 by William Filene.
The Secaucus, N.J.-based company in October reported a net loss of $11.5 million, or 80 cents per share, for this year's second quarter, compared to a net loss of $10.9 million, or 76 cents per share, for the year-ago period.