Stage Stores has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and will simultaneously solicit bids for a going concern sale of the business — or any of its assets — as it initiates an orderly wind-down of operations. If Stage Stores receives a viable acquisition bid, the retailer will cease its wind-down operations at certain locations.
The liquidation sales will coincide with a phased reopening process. The initial batch of 557 stores will reopen and launch their sales on May 15, while a second set of approximately 67 stores will open on May 28. The remaining locations are expected to reopen on June 4.
The retailer plans to continue honoring existing customer programs, including gift cards and returns, at each individual store for 30 days after it reopens. Stage Stores is also is seeking court authorization to support its operations during the bankruptcy process, including the continued payment of wages, salaries and health benefits.
“This is a very difficult announcement and it was a decision that we reached only after exhausting every possible alternative,” said Michael Glazer, President and CEO of Stage Stores in a statement. “Over the last several months, we had been taking significant steps to attempt to strengthen our financial position and find an independent path forward. However, the increasingly challenging market environment was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily close all of our stores and furlough the vast majority of our associates. Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions.”
Stage Stores also has announced the departure of EVP and CFO Jason Curtis, who is leaving to join another retailer. Glazer will oversee finance functions along with former SVP, Finance and Controller Rick Stasyszen, who was retained to support him during this period.
The company may have been preparing for bankruptcy as far back as February, when reports of late vendor payments and “financial restructuring” surfaced. Stage Stores was hit hard by COVID-19 and furloughed nearly all its workers in late March.