Saturday, August 15, 2020

Stein Mart files for bankruptcy and will close all stores, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic

Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic turned out to be the final straw for a chain that was already in trouble during the Retail Apocalypse, forcing it into bankruptcy. News4JAX (WJXT4 in Jacksonville, Florida) has the story in Stein Mart files for bankruptcy, lays off ‘substantial number’ of employees.

Jacksonville-based retailer expects to close a significant number, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores
That was only three days ago. This morning, the Tampa Bay Times reported It’s goodbye for Stein Mart, the Florida retailer will close every store.
After a $10 million PPP loan and an attempt to merge with a spin-off company, the high-end discount retailer is calling it quits.
On Thursday...the liquidators for the high-end brand discount store announced all of Stein Mart’s 279 locations would close. The chain had filed for bankruptcy the day before, after several attempts to keep the struggling business alive — from securing a $10 million Paycheck Protection Payment loan to seeking out a merger with a spin-off company.

Ultimately, none of it was enough.

“You either have to be the best at something or the cheapest,” said Tampa bankruptcy attorney Megan Murray. “I don’t know that Stein Mart was the best at anything.”
According to the article, Stein Mart's customers were older, which meant that they weren't going out or working because they are the ones most vulnerable to the pandemic. TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Homegoods, and Ross have younger customers who returned to the stores, while Stein Mart's didn't. Sigh.

August has already been a bad month for retail chains, especially those specializing in clothing. So far, I've reported on Lord & Taylor, Tailored Brands, and Ascena Retail Group filing for bankruptcy and updated my readers on JCPenney and Hertz. Including Stein Mart, that's five retail chains and a travel company I've written about this month and it's only halfway through August. I know I'll be blogging more about the Retail Apocalypse, as I have a video from Retail Archaeology to share about JCPenney.

That's the Retail Apocalypse news for today. Stay tuned for an observance of World Honey Bee Day.

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