HARKER HEIGHTS — Teens looking for the latest fashion trends will have one less brick-and-mortar store option come June — rue21 at Market Heights plans to close.

The nationwide specialty apparel retailer announced Tuesday its plan to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. About 400 underperforming stores will be shuttered “in order to streamline operations, (and) better align the size of its footprint with market realities,” a company news release said.

“The agreement with our lenders represents their confidence in rue21’s future success even at a time of significant retail industry change,” said CEO Melanie Cox in the release. “Looking ahead, I am confident that the outcome of this process will be a stronger and more sustainable rue21 for our customers, vendors and business partners.”

Financing secured by the company through restructuring will ensure employees and vendors will be paid without interruption, and all existing customer programs will be honored, including gift cards.

An exact closing date has not yet been communicated, a store employee said.

Rue21 operates 1,179 shops.

Stores in Temple, Waco and Round Rock are not on the list of closures.

A call to Direct Development, the developer of Market Heights, seeking information about whether the space will be replaced with another business, was not returned.

Locally, Carolina Alehouse, Kmart, Gander Mountain, Hastings, Payless, RadioShack, and Texas Land and Cattle are among several businesses that have closed or announced they will close in the past year.

Rue21’s certificate for occupancy was registered with the city of Harker Heights in June 2008, and it opened shortly after.

asierra@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

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