Struggling mall-based retailer Aéropostale Inc. (ARO) has brought in advisers to help it explore a sale or restructuring, reports The Deal's Jamie Mason. The New York-based teenage apparel retailer announced on Thursday, March 17 that it has hired Stifel Financial Corp. to advise it on a full range of strategic and financial alternatives, including a sale or a restructuring. Aéropostale also disclosed that it is currently engaged in a dispute with its vendor MGF Sourcing US LLC, which is an affiliate of private equity firm Sycamore Partners LLC. Aéropostale said that it believes the vendor is in violation of a sourcing agreement. "This violation is causing a disruption in the supply of some merchandise, which, if unresolved, could cause a liquidity constraint. The company is considering all options with respect to this dispute and to address the disruption in supply," Aéropostale said in the statement on Thursday. In 2014, the company reached a sourcing agreement with MGF Sourcing - also known as Mast Global Fashions - requiring Aéropostale to complete a minimum of $240 million in merchandise purchases each year for 10 years. The sourcing agreement was part of a $150 million financing package the company received from Sycamore at the time. The company's stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, was down over 45% on the news mid-day on Friday at 25.7 cents, after closing on Thursday at 48 cents. In November, The Deal identified Aéropostale as one of the top 10 troubled retailers heading into the holidays. On Thursday, the company also reported its fourth quarter results, which saw its net sales decline by 16.1% to $498 million. Aéropostale's comparable store sales fell 6.7% compared to the fourth quarter of 2014. Aéropostale reported a $21.7 million net loss for the fourth quarter ending Jan. 30.
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