Stein Mart files for bankruptcy amid pandemic turmoil

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Stein Mart (Credit: Diane Macdonald/Moment Mobile ED via Getty Images)

Stein Mart Inc. announced Wednesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and may close all of its stores amid a retail decline fueled by the coronavirus pandemic.

“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,” company CEO and CFO Hunt Hawkins said in a statement.

The company said it has launched a “liquidation process” and expects to close “a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores.”

“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,” Hawkins said. “The Company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business.”

The 112-year-old company, which operates 281 stores across 30 states, said it is considering strategic alternatives, including the possible sale of its e-commerce operations and related intellectual property.

As the pandemic continues to upset the U.S. economy, the department-store chain has become the latest retailer to fall victim to a tumultuous retail environment.

Several other major retailers have filed Chapter 11 this year, including  Tuesday Morning, JCPenney, Sur La Table, Muji, Pier 1 Imports and Men’s Wearhouse owner Tailored Brands Inc.

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