The Limited to Close All of Its 250 Stores

Troubled women's apparel retailer Limited Stores is closing all of its 250 stores nationwide.

In a short message to customers Friday, the retailer said "this isn't goodbye," but that it was closing all of its brick-and-mortar locations. The retailer's website is still available to shoppers. The home page flashed a 50% off everything sale, and said all purchases would be final.

A spokesman for The Limited declined to comment on the matter.

In December The Limited began laying off employees at its New Albany, Ohio headquarters, with roughly 250 workers expected to be affected.

In a letter to employees, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Chief Financial Officer Larry Fultz said that due to a heavy debt load and tough retail environment the company had to be sold or it would be closed altogether. He said in the letter the company was in the process of reviewing bids from potential buyers, and was "hopeful" the business would remain open.

The Wall Street Journal reported in November that The Limited hired Guggenheim Partners as a financial adviser to help it explore a possible sale. People familiar with the matter said a restructuring was a strong possibility.

The Limited, which was founded in 1963, is backed by distressed-focused private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners. The Florida firm first bought a 75% stake in The Limited in 2007 from L Brands, and later acquired the remaining 25% stake in 2010.

A Sun Capital representative declined to comment.

The retailer's interim chief executive, John Buell, resigned in December for another management position at women's fashion brand Altar'd State. Mr. Buell had taken the helm at The Limited in October after Diane Ellis stepped down after three years.

Write to Lillian Rizzo at