Analysts say the ongoing uncertainty from the pandemic and deepening recession makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly where many of these national chains will end up after filing for bankruptcy. Many are expected to close hundreds, even thousands, of underperforming stores while trying to shore up the rest of their operations. Others, like Stage Stores and Lord & Taylor, have said they will liquidate all stores while searching for a buyer.
Here is a running tally of pandemic-era bankruptcy filings:
1. J. Crew
Annual revenue: $2.5 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 492
On May 4, J. Crew, the clothing chain known for its preppy basics, became the first major U.S. retailer to file for Chapter 11 protection.
The 73-year-old New York-based company was struggling to stay relevant long before the outbreak forced it to temporarily shutter all 492 of its J. Crew and Madewell stores. Analysts say missteps, in both fashion and finance, have left the one-time mall darling with slipping sales and nearly $2 billion in debt. Though J. Crew has not announced any store closures, analysts warn that the financial fallout from the temporary closures and reduced sales will have a domino effect across the industry, permanently altering shopping malls across the country.
2. Neiman Marcus
Annual revenue: $4.9 billion in 2018
Number of stores: 43
Neiman Marcus Group, the 113-year-old chain known for its high-end department stores, filed for bankruptcy on May 7.
The Dallas-based retailer has struggled to pay down $5 billion in debt, much of it from leveraged buyouts in 2005 and 2013. The pandemic has forced it to temporarily shutter all 43 of its stores and furlough most of its 14,000 workers. In addition to its namesake stores, it also owns Bergdorf Goodman, Horchow and Mytheresa.
The company said it is considering closing some locations but did not provide details. In a letter to customers, chief executive Geoffroy van Raemdonck stressed that the retailer is not liquidating.
3. Stage Stores
Annual revenue: $1.58 billion in 2018
Number of stores: 738
Stage Stores, which operates hundreds of Palais Royal, Bealls and Goody’s department stores, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 10.
The Houston-based company said it is searching for a buyer as it liquidate its stores. The retailer has 738 locations across half a dozen brands, including the off-price Gordmans chain and the Peebles and Stage department stores, in small towns and rural areas in 42 states.
4. J.C. Penney
Annual revenue: $12.02 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 850
Department store chain J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy protection on May 15 and said it would permanently close some of its 850 locations.
The 118-year-old retailer was struggling long before the public health crisis forced it to temporarily shutter its stores and furlough the majority of its 90,000 employees. It has nearly $4 billion in debt and hasn’t turned a profit since 2010. Sales have fallen for four straight years as it struggled to win back longtime loyalists who have since gravitated to big box chains such as Target and Costco to outfit their families.
In its bankruptcy filing, J.C. Penney said it has both assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, and it owes money to more than 100,000 creditors. It also said it would close some stores, but did not provide details on where or when.
5. Tuesday Morning
Annual revenue: $1 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 687
Discount retailer Tuesday Morning filed for bankruptcy on May 27 and said it will shut 230 locations, roughly one-third of its store holdings, this summer, after the coronavirus outbreak disrupted sales.
In its bankruptcy filing, the Dallas-based home goods chain said it owed between $50 million and $100 million to as many as 5,000 creditors.
Analysts say the retailer has struggled to set itself apart from competitors such as HomeGoods, Ross Stores and Macy’s Backstage outlets, which have gained popularity in recent years. Tuesday Morning stores, they say, tend to be unorganized and overwhelming, with a mishmash of less-than-exciting inventory.
“Many stores are not so much an Aladdin’s cave of exciting treasures as a jumbled flea market of whatever buyers could seemingly get their hands on,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, wrote in a note to clients. “Putting together a range requires enormous skill and a certain degree of flair. In our view, Tuesday Morning lacks both.”
6. GNC Holdings
Annual revenue: $2.07 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 5,200 U.S. stores
Vitamin and nutrition chain GNC Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 23, with plans to close up to 1,200 U.S. stores as it searches for a buyer.
GNC — General Nutrition Centers — was the country’s go-to retailer for vitamins, protein powders and nutritional supplements. But in recent years it has struggled for years to shore up sales as it tried to pay back more than $900 million in debt. Then came the coronavirus pandemic, which forced it to shutter about 40 percent of its stores, leading to millions in lost revenue. The company reported a $200 million loss during the first quarter of this year and last month warned that some of the company’s temporary closures could soon turn permanent.
The Pittsburgh-based retailer has both assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to its bankruptcy filing.
7. Lucky Brand Dungarees
Annual revenue: Not reported
Number of stores: About 200
Denim retailer Lucky Brand Dungarees filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 3 and announced plans to sell the company, after the coronavirus crisis caused demand for jeans and other apparel to evaporate.
The Los Angeles-based company, which is owned by private-equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, said it has a lined up deals to sell parts of the business to SPARC Group and Authentic Brands Group. It also is planning to close at least 13 U.S. stores.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted sales across all channels,” Matthew Kaness, the company’s interim chief executive, said in a statement. “While we are optimistic about the reopening of stores and our customers’ return, the business has yet to recover fully.”
Lucky Brand, founded 30 years ago in California, is known for its vintage-inspired jeans and T-shirts sold at major chains such as Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack and Costco.
In its bankruptcy filing, Lucky Brand said it owes nearly $5 million to mall operator Simon Property Group, and millions more to suppliers in Anguilla, Sri Lanka, Guatemala and India. It has between $100 million and $500 million in overall debts owed to as many as 5,000 creditors.
8. Brooks Brothers
Annual revenue: Roughly $1 billion
Number of stores: 250 U.S. stores
Brooks Brothers, the country’s oldest clothing retailer, filed for bankruptcy protection on July 8 as it continues to search for a buyer. The brand, best known for its sharp Oxfords, classic suits and polos, has dressed nearly every U.S. president, as well as legions of business executives.
The company is set to close 51 of its 250 North American stores and will halt production at its factories in Massachusetts, North Carolina and New York in mid-August, which produce less than 7 percent of its finished goods. Remaining stores will reopen in compliance with local public health orders tied to pandemic-related closures.
The 202-year brand, owned by its chief executive Claudio Del Vecchio, has long sought a buyer and has not struggled to field bids. But the pandemic, along with changing workplace fashion trends, disrupted the sale process. The company secured $75 million in debtor-in-possession financing to continue its operations during the sale process.
9. Sur La Table
Annual revenue: Undisclosed
Number of stores: 112 U.S. stores
Kitchen goods retailer Sur La Table filed for bankruptcy July 9 as it prepares for a corporate sale and store closures.
The Seattle-based upscale cookware chain expects to close 56 of its 112 stores, according to a spokesman. The retrenchment comes two weeks after Sur La Table laid off 27 employees, a fifth of its corporate staff, without severance pay.
Like other retailers tipped into bankruptcy during the pandemic, Sur La Table was carrying a significant amount of debt. In its Chapter 11 filing, it listed between $100 million and $500 million in both assets and liabilities. It also said the company had reached a “stalking horse” agreement with New York-based Fortress Investment Group for a possible sale.
10. RTW Retailwinds
Annual revenue: $827 million
Number of stores: Nearly 400
Women’s fashion retailer RTW Retailwinds filed for bankruptcy protection on July 13 and said it expects to close most or perhaps all its stores.
The company behind New York & Co. said in a statement it has already begun to close and liquidate stores. Retailers were already being pushed to the brink before the coronavirus pandemic led to widespread stay-at-home that gutted sales. Now the bankruptcies are piling up — including J. Crew, Neiman Marcus and, just last week, Sur La Table and Brooks Brothers.
The challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused “significant financial distress on our business, said Sheamus Toal, the chief executive of RTW Retailwinds, in a statement.
Established in 1918, RTW Retailwinds operates nearly 400 locations in 32 states. It also includes Fashion to Figure and HappyxNature — a clothing collection from actor Kate Hudson — among its brands.
11. Ascena Retail Group
Annual revenue: $5.5 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 2,800
Ascena Retail Group, the conglomerate behind women’s apparel brands Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant and Catherines, filed for bankruptcy on July 23 and said it would close about 1,100 of its 2,800 stores after years of declining sales and ballooning debt.
The company, founded as Dressbarn in 1962, is one of the nation’s largest sellers of women’s clothing. But in recent years, its lineups of no-frills workwear and other basics have lost ground to a growing crop of competitors, including off-price retailers like TJ Maxx and newcomers like Everlane.
Ascena is closing all 264 Catherines stores, and selling the plus-size clothing brand and its website to an Australian company, City Chic Collective. It also will shutter more than 600 Justice stores, which cater to girls and preteens, and some Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey shops.
12. Lord and Taylor
Annual revenue: About $1 billion in 2018
Number of stores: 38
Lord & Taylor, the nation’s oldest department store chain, filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 2, joining nearly a dozen iconic retailers that have succumbed to Chapter 11 protection during the pandemic. On Aug. 27, it announced it would liquidate all stores and its website.
The once-storied institution, founded in New York in 1826, had in recent years fallen out of touch with high-end customers and younger shoppers. Le Tote, a clothing rental start-up, that bought Lord & Taylor last year for about $100 million, also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday.
The company joins a number of other department store chains, including Neiman Marcus, J.C. Penney and Stage Stores, in seeking Chapter 11 protection. Bankruptcy experts said Lord & Taylor’s decision to liquidate comes as a warning to other retailers in a similar position.
“If the pandemic continues through the holiday season, other retail companies — especially traditional department stores — will find that even a major reorganization isn’t possible, and will be force to liquidate as well,” said Robert Rattet, bankruptcy chair at New York-based firm, Davidoff Hutcher & Citron.
13. Tailored Brands
Annual revenue: $2.9 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 1,400
Tailored Brands Inc., the parent company of Men’s Wearhouse, JoS. A. Bank, K&G and Moores, filed for Chapter 11 protection on Aug. 2, the same day as department store chain Lord & Taylor.
The filing comes less than two weeks after the retailer announced plans to slash its corporate head count by 20 percent and rearrange its store lineup and supply chain infrastructure to prioritize e-commerce. At the time, the company had reopened nearly all 1,274 stores in the United States and 125 stores in Canada.
The company did not indicate any immediate plans for store closures in Sunday’s filing. But on July 21, it announced that it had identified as many as 500 stores for potential closure over time. The specialty menswear retailer said it will still honor customer gift cards and rewards, and fill rental reservations and custom orders in its stores. It also said it will continue paying its 18,000 workers and providing health benefits.
14. Stein Mart
Annual revenue: $1.2 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 281
Discount chain Stein Mart filed for bankruptcy on Aug. 12 and announced plans to close most, if not all, of its stores across the country as it searches for a buyer for its e-commerce business.
The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company said it had run out of cash to keep operating during the pandemic, despite a $10 million small-business loan from the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. In its bankruptcy filing, it said it owed between $500 million and $1 billion to as many as 10,000 lenders.
“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” Hunt Hawkins, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Stein Mart, founded 112 years ago in Mississippi, sells off-price clothing, handbags and housewares, but has fallen behind larger competitors like TJ Maxx, Burlington and Nordstrom Rack.
15. Century 21 Stores
Annual revenue: Unknown
Number of stores: 13
Century 21 Stores, the discount emporium and Manhattan destination, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday and announced plans to close all 13 stores, becoming the latest retailer to be felled by the pandemic.
The Chapter 11 filing comes after the company’s insurers declined to pay roughly $175 million as part of policies that protected against losses from the pandemic.
“While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, we now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business,” Raymond Gindi, the retailer’s co-chief executive, said in a statement. “We are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery.”
The New York-based department store chain, known for jam-packed shelves of discounted designer goods, was founded in lower Manhattan in 1961. In the decades since, it has expanded throughout New York and New Jersey, and recently opened stores in Philadelphia and Sunrise, Fla.
The company said it will hold liquidation sales at all of its stores, as well as on its website, as it tries to clear out leftover inventory. In its bankruptcy filing, it said it owed up to $500 million to more than 10,000 creditors, including Adidas, Michael Kors and Zara.
16. Guitar Center
Annual revenue: $2.3 billion in 2019
Number of stores: 297
Guitar Center declared bankruptcy Nov. 21, a move the company hopes will reduce its debt and buoy its chance at surviving temporary store closures and slowed customer demand for music lessons and instruments during the financial setback of the coronavirus pandemic.
The California-based company said it plans to continue business operations at its 297 stores, with the plan to complete its financial restructuring before the end of 2020.
“This is an important and positive step in our process to significantly reduce our debt and enhance our ability to reinvest in our business to support long-term growth,” chief executive Ron Japinga said in the release. “Throughout this process, we will continue to serve our customers and deliver on our mission of putting more music in the world. Given the strong level of support from our lenders and creditors, we expect to complete the process before the end of this year.”
The company said it has received $165 million in new equity investment and plans to reduce its debt by $800 million. Guitar Center has so far negotiated a total of $375 million in debtor-in-possession financing from lenders and hopes to raise another $335 million in senior secured notes.
Annual revenue: $407.5 million in 2019
Number of stores: 558
Specialty boutique chain Francesca’s filed for bankruptcy protection on Dec. 3, with plans to sell the women’s apparel and accessories chain and shutter dozens of stores.
The Houston-based company, which sells women’s clothing and accessories, said in a news release that will close 140 of its 558 stores and attempt to renegotiate a number of its leases.
Chief executive Andrew Clarke said he is confident Francesca’s “will emerge from this process as a stronger company poised to drive growth by exploring new brand avenues, expanding our ecommerce channels, and providing our customers with the latest fashion options and treasure hunt experiences they know and love us for.”
The company said lender Tiger Finance has committed to provide $25 million in debtor-in-possession financing to keep stores open and pay employees. If approved by the court, the company plans to conclude the sale process by the end of January 2021.
Jacob Bogage, Hannah Denham and Hamza Shaban contributed to this report.