The company is expected to close and liquidate all of its stores.
Another day, another retailer heading to bankruptcy court. Florida-based Stein Mart filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on August 12, 2020, in Jacksonville. The publicly traded company plans to close most, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar locations and will look at selling off its website and other intellectual property. Liquidation sales are expected to begin as soon as possible. Stein Mart is the latest retail store chain to file bankruptcy, joining Lord & Taylor, Pier 1 Imports, Neiman Marcus, GNC, and Brooks Brothers.
Before the coronavirus crisis hit, brick-and-mortar stores were under pressure as consumers shifted habits to buy more online. As the pandemic raged, store closures caused sales to plummet, forcing companies like Stein Mart to the edge.
Courtesy Stein Mart
“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," said Hunt Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer of Stein Mart, Inc. “The Company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale.”
Stein Mart has 281 stores in 30 states and sells discounted designer clothing, home decor, shoes, and other accessories. Founded in 1908 in Mississippi by Sam Stein, the family has been at the helm of the company until last year when CEO Jay Stein retired. Expansion of the brand started in 1990, and Stein Mart grew from 40 to 123 stores by 1996.
Stein Mart has not published any statements to consumers, but a press release on the bankruptcy states that all stores and the website are expected to remain open for the time being.