15 Major Companies That Filed for Bankruptcy Due to the Pandemic

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Business closes due to the coronavirus pandemic
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Many familiar retailers and restaurants that already were reeling from changing consumer habits received a financial punch they may not overcome when the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year.

Some will hang on by restructuring their companies — often including shuttering underperforming stores — through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Others we may never see again as they liquidate and go out of business.

Here is a look at some of the most familiar names that have started bankruptcy proceedings since the pandemic hit.

1. J.C. Penney Co.

J.C. Penney
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The national department store expects to live on with fewer stores and a new owner when it emerges from a bankruptcy reorganization.

“The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for our families, our loved ones, our communities, and our country,” CEO Jill Soltau, says in a news release in conjunction with the May bankruptcy court filing.

At that time, J.C. Penney had announced plans to shutter about 150 stores.

An attorney for J.C. Penney recently told a bankruptcy court judge that a sale of the company to new owners, rather than a liquidation, should be completed by fall, USA Today reports.

2. Neiman Marcus Group

Neiman Marcus Last Call
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The parent company of Neiman Marcus expects to emerge from bankruptcy reorganization in the fall after making a deal with creditors and trimming some of its luxury department stores and Last Call outlet stores.

The company, which also operates Bergdorf Goodman and Horchow, filed for bankruptcy protection in May.

“Like most businesses today, we are facing unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck says in a company statement issued at the time of the filing.

3. California Pizza Kitchen

California Pizza Kitchen
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California Pizza Kitchen is looking forward to a fresh start financially after filing for bankruptcy protection in July.

“For many restaurants, the Covid-19 pandemic will be the greatest challenge they will ever face; for some, it may also be their last,” CEO James Hyatt declares in court documents.

The bankruptcy filing will allow CPK to close unprofitable locations.

4. Pier 1

Closing Pier 1 Imports store
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Pier 1 filed for bankruptcy protection in February and in May decided to liquidate through going-out-of-business sales.

In June, Retail Ecommerce Ventures bought Pier 1’s intellectual property for $31 million. REV President Tai Lopez tells NBC News that his firm plans to take Pier 1 online:

“COVID-19 hit and it really created an opportunity to buy really good brands that we felt had just been victim to the times but could be brought online, like Pier 1.”

5. Tailored Brands

Men's Wearhouse
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The parent company of Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, Moores Clothing for Men and K&G Fashion Superstore should be well-suited to continue operating beyond its bankruptcy reorganization, company officials say.

The company said in July it had identified up to 500 stores for closure over time, and in August it secured $500 million in financing.

6. 24 Hour Fitness

24 Hour Fitness
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24 Hour Fitness says it will tone its financial muscle and emerge as a leaner company through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization needed after it was tripped up by COVID-19.

“If it were not for COVID-19 and its devastating effects, we would not be filing for Chapter 11,” the company says in an explanation of its restructuring on its website.

As part of the process, 24 Hour Fitness says it will close gyms that were outdated or too close to other 24 Hour Fitness locations.

7. Brooks Brothers

Brooks Brothers
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America’s oldest clothier won’t being going out of style anytime soon.

Authentic Brands Group and SPARC Group teamed up to pay $325 million for Brooks Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy protection in July. The new owners agreed they will keep at least 125 of Brooks Brothers stores open.

8. Lord + Taylor

Lord & Taylor
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America’s oldest department store has begun going-out-of-business sales at some of its locations.

Lord + Taylor, founded in 1826, said in a statement to customers that it is seeking a new owner.

As part of this process “to overcome the unprecedented strain the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on our business,” the retailer said it and its current parent company, Le Tote, filed for bankruptcy protection in August.

9. Garden Fresh

Sweet Tomatoes restaurant
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Garden Fresh, the parent of buffet-style Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants, did not survive the pandemic, opting for liquidation through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing in May after shuttering all its eateries.

The chain could not survive health officials’ coronavirus restrictions, Garden Fresh CEO John Haywood told the San Diego Union-Tribune. He said of self-serve stations:

“The regulations are understandable, but unfortunately, it makes it very difficult to reopen. And I’m not sure the health departments are ever going to allow it.”

10. Ascena Retail Group

Ann Taylor
Goran Bogicevic / Shutterstock.com

Ascena Retail Group, the owner of varied women’s clothing retailers, says the coronavirus pandemic “severely disrupted” its progress toward sustainable growth. This led to the company filing for bankruptcy protection in July.

Ascena Retail Group says the bankruptcy restructuring process will involve “the closing of a significant number of Justice stores and a select number of Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey stores.”

11. J. Crew Group

J. Crew
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J. Crew Group says it has fashioned a restructuring plan that will see the apparel company through a bankruptcy protection filing announced in May.

The company says it won $130 million in lease breaks from landlords for its fleet of 178 J. Crew stores, 145 Madewell stores and 170 factory stores.

12. CEC Entertainment

Chuck E. Cheese's
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The party’s still on at Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza despite their parent company, CEC Entertainment, filing for bankruptcy protection in June.

CEC Entertainment says the filing was necessary “to overcome the financial strain resulting from prolonged, COVID-19 related venue closures and position the Company for long-term success.”

13. Tuesday Morning

Tuesday Morning
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Discount home goods retailer Tuesday Morning blames the “immense strain” of the pandemic for the corporation’s filing for bankruptcy protection in May.

“The prolonged and unexpected closures of our stores in response to COVID-19 has had severe consequences on our business,” CEO Steve Becker said in a company statement issued at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

14. Stein Mart

Stein Mart
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Off-price department store Stein Mart says it plans to close many, if not all, of its more than 280 stores across 30 states.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” CEO Hunt Hawkins says in a statement released in conjunction with the Aug. 12 bankruptcy court filing.

The company is exploring the possibility of selling its online business and intellectual property, it says.

15. New York & Co.

Woman looking in the mirror while trying on new clothes
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New York & Co. announced in July that it is closing all its 380 stores following parent company RTW Retailwinds’ filing for bankruptcy protection.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” says Sheamus Toal, CEO of RTW Retailwinds, in a statement about the bankruptcy filing.

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