Christopher & Banks Files for Bankruptcy, Expects to Close Stores
Apparel retailer Christopher & Banks, which caters to women over 40, is the latest clothing chain to file for bankruptcy protection amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Minneapolis-based company announced Thursday it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Christopher & Banks said in a press release it "expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores." Hours after the bankruptcy filing, liquidation company Hilco Merchant Resources announced store closing sales have begun at all Christopher & Banks stores nationwide. Christopher & Banks said it "is in active discussion with potential buyers" for the sale of its online business and related assets.
Total Retail's Take: While the coronavirus pandemic might have been the final straw for the mall-based apparel retailer, the demise of Christopher & Banks has long been in the making. The company has struggled to consistently post sales and profit gains as fewer people ventured into its brick-and-mortar stores. And as more competition entered the market online, Christopher & Banks never was really able to begin capturing meaningful market share. The core of the business was its stores, and with COVID-19 closing them for a period of time, a recovery became untenable. Now it will see if a buyer steps up, and if so, what that means for the future of Christopher & Banks. Will it re-open soon-to-be-shuttered retail stores? Reposition Christopher & Banks as an online-only retailer? The answers will soon come, but in the meantime other similar mall-based apparel retailers are working feverishly to avoid a similar fate.