Christopher & Banks is going out of business


By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

(CNN) -- Christopher & Banks is joining the long list of retailers filing for bankruptcy and disappearing from America's malls.

The womenswear company filed for Chapter 11 on Thursday, a result of "financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact," it said. Christopher & Banks, which has approximately 400 locations in 44 states, said it will close a "significant portion" of stores and is in an "active discussion" to sell its website.

There are Christopher & Banks stores in Mishawaka, Elkhart and Michigan City.

The bankruptcy was foreshadowed last year when the company announced it hired an investment banker to refinance its debt and "explore other strategic alternatives." In May, the company took a loan between $5 million to $10 million from the Paycheck Protection Program according to CNN Business' database.

Christopher & Banks admitted in its most recent earnings release that Covid-19 has particularly disrupted shopping habits for women who shop at stores that offer more formal attire. They have become more pragmatic shoppers, the company said, opting for leisure wear instead of outfits for social engagements.

It's certainly not alone. Other retailers have cited similar reasons in their bankruptcy filings last year. Ascena Retail Group, the owner of Ann Taylor, Loft and Lane Bryant, said its business had been "severely disrupted" by the pandemic and closed hundreds of stores. RTW Retailwinds, owner of New York & Co., also closed most of its stores.

With the shift toward working from home, buying work clothes has fallen out of fashion, jeopardizing the futures of companies that depend on office attire. New data from Coresight Research reveals that more than 8,700 stores closed in 2020 and another 1,400 shuttered just this year.

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