Possible Merger Between PacSun and Eddie Bauer?

Rumors are swirling that private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital might be doing a little matchmaking for two of its brands that it owns.

Reuters recently cited unnamed sources who said that Eddie Bauer and Pacific Sunwear of California are exploring a merger that could possibly consolidate the retailers’ commercial real estate.

In the past few years, both retail chains have emerged from bankruptcies, and their store fleets have been whittled down. In PacSun’s case, it ran a chain of 800 stores in 2011, but five years later that was reduced to 583 stores.

The Anaheim, Calif.–headquartered PacSun came to prominence as a mall-based retailer for mostly teens who liked surfwear brands. In recent years, PacSun has broadened its merchandise mix to include streetwear, athletic wear and contemporary brands such as Fear of God, Diamond Supply Co., Nike, Guess and Kendall & Kylie.

The Bellevue, Wash.–headquartered Eddie Bauer sells men’s and women’s premium-quality clothing inspired by the outdoors. It runs a fleet of 370 stores, according to the company’s website.

Robert Greenspan, an apparel and retail consultant, said the merger news might be a strategic decision for these two retailers to branch out into another business. “If someone is in the womenswear business and business is leveling off, they might get into children’s wear,” said the president of Greenspan Consult. “Retailers are having a hard time surviving. They might be looking into different businesses.”

Neither Golden Gate nor PacSun returned emails or phone calls requesting comment by press time.