By  on December 3, 2008

B. Moss Clothing Co. Ltd. expects to begin going-out-of-business sales at all 70 of its stores starting Friday after 69 years in business.

The Secaucus, N.J.-based women’s specialty chain filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition Tuesday in a New Jersey bankruptcy court to conduct an orderly liquidation of the business. According to court papers, the retailer intends to conclude the GOB sales at 60 of its stores by Dec. 31, with the balance to be completed by Jan. 15. The stores are in shopping malls throughout 16 Eastern and Midwestern states.

Mark McNerney, a vice president, said in an affidavit that the company employed 703 people as of Tuesday, with 203 as full-timers and 500 working in part-time positions. For the year ended Feb. 2, the company posted an operating loss of $3.1 million on sales of $50.7 million. B. Moss reported net income of $4.5 million due to the January sale of its land and headquarters building in Secaucus.

In the previous year, the operating loss was $933,000 on sales of $58.3 million. The net loss was $1.3 million.

The company was founded by members of the Moss family in Yonkers, N.Y., 69 years ago.

McNerney also said that, as of Sunday, the retailer had assets of $13 million and unsecured debt of $10.3 million.

The executive also said that the company began to experience declining sales and profitability five years before it filed, and that sales have dropped 35 percent in just the past four years. The retailer also attempted to find a buyer, but one who submitted a letter of intent just two months ago walked away because of its inability to obtain the required financing to close the transaction, McNerney said.

Among the top unsecured creditors are: Juven’s Inc./Caviar, New York, $142,080; International Direct Group, New York, $133.286; Vetta Jewelry Inc., New York, $123,705; NY3 International LLC, New York, $120,516, and Shugaray LLC, Harrison, N.J., $101,382.

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