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Stein Mart files for bankruptcy and plans to close most, if not all, of its stores

The discount retailer said it expects to close many, if not all, of its 281 stores across the United States.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Discount retailer Stein Mart announced Wednesday morning it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans to permanently close most, if not all, of its stores. 

The Jacksonville, Florida-based company currently operates 281 stores across 30 states specializing in clothing, shoes and housewares at discount prices. It said it has already launched a liquidation process to begin going-out-of-business sales. In a statement, the retailer said it expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar locations.  

The 112-year-old company currently has nearly 8,000 employees, according to court filings.

Stein Mart CEO Hunt Hawkins said 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."

Hawkins added that the company "lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business." 

Stein Mart said it is still evaluating any and all strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of its eCommerce business and related intellectual property.

Stein Mart closed its businesses in mid-March because of the pandemic. It began reopening in April, and eventually reopened all of its stores with reduced hours. It borrowed $10 million in June under the federal Paycheck Protection Program. The company first started doing business in 1908, in Mississippi.

More then 40 retailers have filed for Chapter 11 this year, including more than two dozen retailers who filed since the pandemic began. Last year, 23 retailers filed for Chapter 11.

Among them: America’s oldest retailer, Lord & Taylor; J. Crew; J.C. Penney; Neiman Marcus; Men’s Wearhouse; Jos. A. Bank; Stage Stores; and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Lane Bryant and Ann Taylor.

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Credit: AP
This Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020 photo shows Stein Mart in St. Petersburg, Fla. National discount department store chain Stein Mart is filing for bankruptcy and will close most, if not all, of its stores.