U.S. retailer National Stores preparing to file for bankruptcy: sources

(Reuters) - National Stores Inc, an off-price U.S. apparel and housewares store operating under banners including Fallas and Factory 2-U, is preparing to file for bankruptcy as early as next week, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

National Stores did not respond to a request for comment.

The move would make National Stores the latest casualty of the bankruptcy wave sweeping the U.S. retail sector, as shoppers increasingly turn to the internet for their purchases. Girls accessories seller Claire’s Stores Inc and fashion shoe wholesaler Nine West Holdings Inc are among the brick-and-mortar retailers that have filed for bankruptcy this year.

National Stores plans to shutter at least 70 of its approximately 350 stores in bankruptcy, said the sources, asking not to be named because the family-owned company’s plans were not yet public. National Stores may also seek to find a buyer during the bankruptcy process, which will be overseen by a Delaware court, the sources added.

National Stores was founded in downtown Los Angeles in 1962, and sells back-to-school items such as uniforms, hospital scrubs and shoes for as low as $3.99, according to its website.

An affiliate of National Stores acquired some of the intellectual property assets of Anna’s Linens, a home goods seller, during its 2015 bankruptcy, according to court papers. National Stores still runs some Anna’s Linens shops, according to its website.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York