Stein Mart Files for Bankruptcy, Starts Liquidation Process

Discount retailer Stein Mart filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on Aug. 12, citing the coronavirus pandemic among factors for its decision.

The retail store was founded in 1908 in Mississippi and now operates 281 stores across 30 states. Stein Mart joins more than 40 retailers that filed for bankruptcy since the pandemic, including some of the nation’s oldest brands like Brooks Brothers.

Most of the companies that have filed for bankruptcy expect to restructure and rebound, but Stein Mart said that it would likely close most of its locations permanently.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic [has] caused significant financial distress on our business,” Stein Mart CEO Hunt Hawkins said in a statement. “The Company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale.”

The discount retailer closed all their locations temporarily on Mar. 18 in response to the pandemic and began reopening Apr. 23. But Stein Mart was feeling the pressure like many other retailers.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent temporary store closures, our revenues, liquidity, results of operations and cash flows, and our ability to pay vendors and landlords according to standard terms have been materially adversely impacted,” the company said in a 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June. “Accordingly, our management has determined that there is a substantial doubt about our ability to continue [operating].”

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