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Daffy’s Says Good-Bye

WWD has learned that the 19-unit chain, with eight stores in Manhattan, will close its doors by the end of October.

Daffy’s, the cash-strapped off-price chain, has decided to shutter its doors.

This story first appeared in the July 16, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Going-out-of-business sales will be conducted by a liquidation firm.

Sources said over the weekend that the retailer, which hired a liquidator earlier in the week, will begin GOB sales shortly.

An employee at the store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood said the stores were notified of the decision on Thursday.

Industry sources familiar with the plan said most stores are set to go dark by the end of October. A few will close as early as the end of September.

Daffy’s has been plagued by financial woes since the spring due to tanking sales, but it wasn’t until vendors were told in June that the chain was unable to pay May invoices that the cash crunch came to light.

Things were so bad that, at the end of June, buyers were told to take a forced vacation while the chain scrambled to assess its options. That led some in the markets to speculate that a bankruptcy filing could be in the works.

Marcia Wilson, the retailer’s chairman and chief executive officer, has been attempting to renegotiate terms with the firm’s lenders. She also was said to have considered a sale of the chain.

Like Syms and Filene’s Basement, both of which have gone out of business, Daffy’s succumbed to competition from business models that provide consumers with better deals and merchandise, instead of primarily offerings that were one season old.

The benefit to Wilson in a liquidation is that she has preserved her options for the real estate sites that the firm owns. In contrast, a bankruptcy filing likely would have meant a court would have control over those assets, depending on how ownership was structured and titled.

Daffy’s operates 19 units, eight of which are in Manhattan.

Wilson could not be reached for comment.