Betsey Johnson's Store Chain Files for Bankruptcy

The Chapter 11 filing paves the way for most of the designer's 63 stores to close and for 350 people to lose their jobs

Betsey Johnson's chain of free-standing boutiques is set to close.

Betsey Johnson LLC, the licensee that runs the kooky designer's 63 free-standing stores, filed for Chapter 11 on Thursday, WWD reported.

It's hoping to restructure under bankruptcy protection, and in the meantime, most of the stores will close — and 350 staffers stand to lose their jobs.

The company's chief financial officer cited "cash flow problems" and said the company couldn't secure restructuring without filing for bankruptcy, according to Fashionista.

Johnson herself, meanwhile, isn't letting her boutiques' bankruptcy bog her down.

"I love our brand!" she said in a press statement. "It's full speed ahead at Betsey."

The 69-year-old is still gearing up for a runway show, unveiling a new fragrance and preparing to start shooting a reality television show with her daughter, "Betsey + Lulu."

"I feel so sad for my store people and all my pink girls. They live and die for me. But I need to be better. I really need to work well and be more efficient," she added.

Betsey Johnson LLC has been run by the Boston private equity firm Castanea Partners since 2007.

Steve Madden, however, owns the entire Betsey Johnson brand's intellectual property rights, Forbes reported. The company said the rest of the Betsey brand — especially its lower-priced designs sold in department stores — is "stronger than ever."

Steve Madden said it intends to focus now on that line, whose dresses retail for hundreds of dollars less than the designs at the struggling free-standing boutiques. It intends to open a handful of flagship-type stores for that line.

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