Fashion and accessories retailer Charming Charlie to close all stores

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We have been here before, and it wasn't even two years ago. Retailer Charming Charlie is back in bankruptcy, this time closing down for good.

Stores nationwide are sporting big sale signs in the windows facing out -- and inside the retailer, smaller sale signs offer bargains starting at 20 percent off, some climbing above 50 percent.

The retailer says all the Charming Charlie stores will close between now and the end of August. Gift cards can no longer be used online and will be no longer accepted in stores after August 14th.

Gift card expert Shelley Hunter says it is time to hustle if you have on the store's gift cards.

"If you have a Charming Charlie gift card, you need to get down to the stores and use them right away," she says, "First of all, the company is no longer selling on its website. Gift cards will only be accepted through August 14th, and the stores are already in liquidation, so much of the merchandise has already been picked over."

An estimated 1,200 retail locations of different brands will close by the end of this year, a staggering amount and a record. Shelley says don't panic, but keep that in mind.

"Oftentimes a company will close an under-performing store. So I don't want you to be alarmed by one particular brand when you see one store closing," she says, "but when you start to see going-out-of-business and liquidation sales at multiple stores for any particular company, it is time to start thinking about customer rewards programs, gift cards and any other perks you have with that establishment."

Shelley says it is best to use your gift cards soon after receiving them. She says those not yet used should be put in your wallet or placed next to the computer where you online shop.

"Have a plan and a process for your gift cards just like you would with any other financial instrument," she goes on. "You don't throw your debit card on your dresser when you head out each day, so don't do that with your gift cards either."

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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