Citing ongoing financial distress from the pandemic, specialty women’s apparel retailer Christopher & Banks has filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. The Minneapolis-based retailer expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its 450 brick-and-mortar stores and has already launched a store closing and liquidation process.
Along with its ecommerce website, Christopher & Banks currently operates 450 stores in 44 states, consisting of 315 MPW (missy-petite-women) stores, 76 Outlet stores, 31 Christopher & Banks stores and 28 in its CJ Banks women’s plus-size division.
COVID-19’s effects pushed a number of retailers, particularly those that depend heavily on mall foot traffic, into bankruptcy in 2020, including:
- Lord & Taylor;
- Neiman Marcus;
- JCPenney, purchased later in 2020 by mall operators Brookfield and Simon Property Group;
- Francesca’s; and
- Guitar Center, which had planned a quick exit from bankruptcy by the end of 2020.
Christopher & Banks is in “active discussion with potential buyers for the sale of its ecommerce platform and related assets,” according to a company statement, but no specific bidders were identified. The company’s restructuring counsel is Cole Schotz P.C.; its financial adviser is BRG LLC; and its investment banker is B. Riley Securities Inc.
“Since the start of the COVID pandemic, we have taken aggressive steps to protect our business while continuing to serve our customers in a healthy and safe environment,” said Keri Jones, President and CEO of Christopher & Banks in a statement. “Despite the tremendous advancements we have made in executing our strategic plan, due to the financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we elected to initiate this process and pursue a potential sale of the business in whole or in part to position the company for the future.”