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Coronavirus closures: National retailers struggle to reopen after shutdowns

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
A closing sign hangs on the wall outside Gordmans in Ardmore Commons . The company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has announced liquidation sales at all of their locations. If a buyer is not found all Gordmans across the country will be forced to close.

The coronavirus shutdowns severely impacted sales at businesses both large and small all across the nation. In fact, many national retailers have begun to file for bankruptcy after two months of lost or reduced sales. Two of these retailers, Gordmans and JC Penney, have locations in Ardmore.

Closing signs are now hanging outside of Gordmans only two months after their March 17 opening. In a letter to customers released on the company’s website, CEO Michael Glazer explained the situation.

“Like many others, our business was significantly impacted by COVID-10,” Glazer wrote. “We temporarily closed all of our stores as we have worked to manage through this challenging environment. Despite all of our efforts, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing to continue operating as an independent business.”

The letter also said the company has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and they are currently running a sale process for the business and company assets in “an orderly wind-down” of operations. During this time, they are hoping to attract a partner who is interested in purchasing the business, and if a “viable bid” is received, certain locations may no longer be shuttered.

In the meantime, the company “expects” to honor all existing customer programs such as gift cards and returns for the first 30 days after the store reopens. No new gift cards are to be issued at this time, and they encourage anyone with gift cards to use them while they can.

Glazer wrote that their decision was made after exhausting all other options.

Another local department store whose fate is currently up in the air is JC Penney. According to a document filed with the Securities and Exchanges Commission on Monday, the company will be shuttering 242 locations over the next several months. This comes after the May 15 announcement that the company would be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In a press release, JC Penney CEO Jill Soltau said the closures and debt restructure will help the company continue moving forward into the future.

“We have a newly refreshed, highly experienced team of retail executives who remain focused on rebuilding our business and restoring financial strength to JC Penny. This team has continued to innovate even during these challenging times, implementing substantial improvements to our flagship eCommerce platform to increase efficiency and ensure our loyal customers continue to have access to the products they need through elevated shopping experiences,” Soltau said.