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Bebe will close 21 stores as it works to overhaul its business

A Bebe store in New York.
Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A Bebe store in New York.

Amid speculation that Bebe Stores will shutter all of its shops to become an online-only retailer, the specialty women's apparel chain says it has committed to closing 21 locations. That represents some 12 percent of its outlets.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange commission on Wednesday, Bebe said it will incur an impairment charge of approximately $2 million from the closures. It will pay a termination fee of roughly $7.4 million.

The company, which is in the process of exploring strategic alternatives for its business, will continue that work with its remaining stores, it said in the filing.

A spokeswoman for Bebe did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for additional information.

Speculation has been swirling that Bebe could be one of the next retailers to join a growing list of companies that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this year. That includes Payless ShoeSource, which said Tuesday that it would shutter some 400 stores as it tries to reorganize.

Bloomberg reported last month that Bebe was planning to close all of its stores and hoped to do so without having to file for bankruptcy.

Net sales at Bebe tumbled 13.5 percent in the first six months of its current fiscal year, which ended Dec. 31. It recorded a net loss of $13 million over that same period.