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Stage Stores Inc. said it has filed for bankruptcy, with a plan to start liquidating its inventory as the discount retailer reopens its stores, while at the same time searching for prospective buyers.
The department store had been preparing for a potential bankruptcy in the months before the coronavirus pandemic forced most U.S. retailers to close their doors in March.
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Stage Stores said Sunday it would start selling off inventory when 557 of its stores reopen on May 15. The rest of its stores are scheduled to reopen in phases on May 28 and June 4.
The company is the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy since the pandemic began, following J.Crew Group Inc. and Neiman Marcus Group Ltd., which both entered court protection last week.
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Stage Stores operates several department-store brands, including Gordmans, Bealls and Goody’s. The company said it would stop inventory clearance sales at any stores that attract buyer interest.
In 2017, Stage Stores acquired off-price retailer Gordmans out of bankruptcy. The company had planned to convert most of its department-store brands to the Gordmans format by the third quarter of this year.
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“This is a very difficult announcement and it was a decision that we reached only after exhausting every possible alternative,” Chief Executive Michael Glazer said in a statement Sunday.
Stage Stores traces its roots to the 1920s, when Palais Royal and Bealls were founded as family-owned businesses. The chains later merged and acquired other department-store brands, and went public in 1996 under the name Stage Stores. The company had 13,600 employees as of February 2019.
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The company said Sunday it is working with law firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP and investment bank PJ Solomon, as well as real-estate advisory firm A&G Real Estate Partners and consulting firm Berkeley Research Group LLC.
Stage Stores filed for bankruptcy in Houston, where the company is based.
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