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Stein Mart declares bankruptcy, will close most stores

Stein Mart declares bankruptcy, will close most stores
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Off-price retailer Stein Mart declared bankruptcy on Wednesday and announced it plans to close most of its stores as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the retail industry. 

Stein Mart, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and announced it has already begun a store closing and liquidation process. The chain said “a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores” will be shut down.   

CEO Hunt Hawkins pointed to the pandemic as reasoning for the filing and said “the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation” of the company’s assets. The company is also in discussions about selling its e-commerce operations and intellectual property. 

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“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,” he said.  

“The Company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business,” he added.

Stein Mart shares fell 35 percent after the announcement and were trading at 18 cents per share Wednesday afternoon. The company's stock has dropped more than 70 percent in 2020, CNBC reported

The company currently runs almost 300 stores in 30 states. 

Stein Mart joins a growing list of more than 40 retailers that have filed for bankruptcy in the midst of the pandemic after government shutdowns reduced in-person shopping.

Other retailers like home-good chain Pier 1 Imports, department stores Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney and apparel companies like J.Crew, Brooks Brothers and Ascena Retail Group, which owns Ann Taylor, have all filed for bankruptcy.