AUBURN – Retailers expect to get word next week about which Steve & Barry’s stores will close, following a bankruptcy buyout of the troubled apparel store by a hedge fund.

On Monday, a judge approved a bid by BHY S&B Holdings LLC to acquire all of the assets of the low-price mass retail chain. In December, the first Steve & Barry’s in Maine opened at the Auburn Mall.

According to a release, BHY expects to keep a majority of the chain’s 276 stores open. BHY is a subsidiary of Bay Harbour Management, a New York-based investment group that specializes in turnarounds of distressed or bankrupt companies. Its holdings include Barneys New York and the former Aladdin Casino, which now operates in Las Vegas as Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

Steve & Barry’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in early July.

“We haven’t received any word at this point,” said David Lee, mall manager, of the Auburn store’s status. “But the new company has been able to keep things going in a couple of different situations, so that’s encouraging.”

The $163 million deal includes the chain’s assets, merchandise inventories and lease rights, as well as the rights to brand licenses from celebrities such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Amanda Bynes and Ben Wallace. The local store continues to sell all of its inventory at $9.98 or less, an extension of its grand opening pricing.

– Carol Coultas


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