RTW Retailwinds, which owns women’s retailer New York & Co., has filed for bankruptcy, continuing the steady march of Chapter 11 filings for brands that were once mall staples.
Last month, RTW bleakly warned its future was in “substantial doubt” and that a bankruptcy filing was imminent because of temporary closures caused by the pandemic. In a release Monday, the company said it “expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores” after liquidation sales are complete.
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 including Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor’s owner Ascena, and Tailored Brands.
RTW is the latest mall retailer to see its fortunes dwindle because of the pandemic and shifting consumer tastes. Sur La Table, J.Crew, JCPenney, Brooks Brothers and Muji have all filed for bankruptcy in recent weeks and warned of significant store closures and job cuts.
“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business, and we expect it to continue to do so in the future,” RTW CEO Sheamus Toal said in a statement. He added that bankruptcy was the “best path forward to unlock value.”
In March, the company furloughed store employees and a “significant portion” of its corporate staffers, resulting in 80% reduction in weekly payroll expenses. RTW has nearly 400 stores and 5,000 employees. Its stock was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange last week.
RTW said its online store will continue. It’s looking to sell its online operations and the intellectual property of the century-old business.