NEW YORK -- After attempting a financial and operational restructuring by closing hundreds of unprofitable stores, the management of Brooks Fashion Stores Inc. has decided to liquidate the 220-plus store chain.

Brooks, a moderately priced women's apparel and accessory chain that filed a Chapter 11 petition on June 15, has asked the bankruptcy court for permission to put itself up for sale in hopes of flushing out potential buyers.

If no buyers come forward, the retailer will then look to run going-out-of-business sales at all its locations. This is the second Chapter 11 proceeding for Brooks, which emerged from bankruptcy court reorganization in 1989.

A hearing to approve putting the company on the block has been scheduled for May 4 in bankruptcy court, here.

Since entering reorganization, the retailer has closed roughly 300 of its mall-based Brooks and Brooks Fashions stores. Brooks lost more than $80 million in 1993, following a $21.4 million loss in 1992.

In bankruptcy court filings, Brooks reported an operating loss of $20.2 million for the year ended Jan. 29, on sales of $230.1 million. Expenses, including those for closing stores, put the net loss at $80.4 million.

In 1992, the chain lost $16.6 million from operations, on $334 million in sales. Expenses put the 1992 net loss at $21.4 million.

Brooks is 98 percent owned by a group of banks, a result of its previous Chapter 11 reorganization. At the time of the filing, the banks -- Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Morgan Guaranty Trust Co. of New York, Bank of Nova Scotia, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Montreal -- were owed $37.5 million on $60 million in unsecured notes.

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