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Jan 7 (Reuters) - The owner of the 129 Mandee, Annie Sez and Afaze women's clothing stores filed for bankruptcy after Superstorm Sandy cut into the New Jersey-based company's sales and derailed its turnaround.
The company, Big M Inc, which caters to young women with its Mandee stores, was forced to close many locations for a week after Sandy cut through the New York City metropolitan area on Oct. 29.
The company also placed blame for its bankruptcy filing on its insurer for not promptly paying its claims related to the storm, according to court documents.
New York and New Jersey are still recovering from one of the costliest U.S. storms and paying for the massive clean-up has become a hot-button political issue.
Big M launched a restructuring in 2011 of its operations, which have been hit by the sluggish U.S. economy. The company had closed approximately 27 stores, according to documents filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Newark, New Jersey.
To finance its bankruptcy, the company will ask for court approval to borrow up to $13.2 million from Salus Capital Partners.
Big M was founded by Leon, Max and Bernard Mandelbaum after their return from World War II. The company remains a family business.
The company anticipates gross revenues for the year to January 26 of approximately $192 million, according to court documents. It listed both assets and liabilities of between $50 million and $100 million in court records.
It employs 1,200 full-time and part-time employees.
The case is Big M Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, No. 13-10233