Syms, Filene's Basement File for Bankruptcy

The retailer Syms and its subsidiary, Filene's Basement, have filed for bankruptcy, and plan to liquidate their stores by January.

Company CEO Marcy Syms said it's been a challenge for the retailer to keep pace with competition from other department stores and discount chains, while struggling with fewer buying opportunities and a poor economy.

"All these factors affected both chains and they came at a time when Filene's Basement, which was just emerging from bankruptcy, was already waging an uphill battle to rebuild its customer base," she said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Independent retail analyst Brian Sozzi said he's not surprised because the companies have struggled to market what they stand for. He also said that even combined with Filene's, Syms was still a small company. "So when they go to their suppliers, they have less negotiating leverage compared to a T.J. Maxx, a Macy's, a Dillard's. So, they'll have to pay higher costs for their products, and when they can't price accordingly, it's a lose-lose situation," he said.

Secaucus, N.J.-based Syms acquired Filene's in 2009, as that company was coming out of a separate bankruptcy filing.

Syms said the company considered all options before deciding on filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy and liquidation as "the best way of maximizing value for stakeholders."