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4 LI stores owned by Destination Maternity may close by end of year

Destination Maternity in Carle Place, seen here on

Destination Maternity in Carle Place, seen here on Oct. 26, is one of four stores targeted for possible closure by the end of the year. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Four Long Island Destination Maternity stores are among more than 180 locations identified by the retailer as likely to close as part of the retailer’s bankruptcy protection filing, according to court documents.

The maternity apparel retailer — which has about 446 stand-alone stores in the United States — is considering the closure of the following LI stores: Destination Maternity in Carle Place, Destination Maternity in Lake Grove, Destination Maternity in Manhasset, and Motherhood Maternity Outlet in Riverhead.

If these locations shut their doors, Destination Maternity would no longer have any free-standing stores on Long Island, but its merchandise could still be found at other retailers, such as Macy’s and Sears.

Destination Maternity officials had no comment on the store closings, a company spokeswoman said. A per-store breakdown of impacted employees is not available.

Closure dates vary by location but most stores listed in bankruptcy court documents are expected to close by the end of the year.

New Jersey-based Destination Maternity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Delaware on Oct. 21, citing more than $200 million in debt, declining birthrates, high rents, upheaval in the retail industry and leadership turnover, among other factors. In the last five years, the company has had five CEOs.

“This decision is a difficult but necessary one,” said Lisa Gavales, the company’s chair of the office of the CEO, in a statement published on the company’s website.

“In a challenging retail environment, we have had to make some very tough choices, but we are confident that the steps taken today provide an opportunity to continue a marketing process that provides the most efficient means of maximizing value to our stakeholders.”

For three years, from 2014 to 2017, Gavales was CEO of Things Remembered; the company filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year.

Destination Maternity, which was founded in 1982 under the name Mothers Work, went public in 1992. A couple years later, it acquired the Motherhood Maternity and A Pea in the Pod brands. It continued to grow, opening a flagship Destination Maternity store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan in 2006.

In 2015, it opened a 406,000-square-foot distribution center in Florence, New Jersey.

The company often partnered with celebrities such as supermodel Heidi Klum and singer Jessica Simpson to promote specific collections.

Additional store closings are being considered in the future, according to the documents.

“Retailers with the largest brick-and-mortar footprints are most vulnerable and most likely to file for bankruptcy protection because they’re the ones with the highest expenses,” said attorney Patrick Collins, who specializes in bankruptcy and restructuring and is a partner at Farrell Fritz in Uniondale.

“It’s usually a combination of things. It’s not just a story of high expenses and a loss of sales to e-commerce. Normally, there’s a story to tell in addition to those factors, which involves debt among other things, and this [Destination Maternity’s bankruptcy filing] is no exception.”

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