North Adams Gordmans store to close

Gordmans, seen here shortly after the North Adams location first opened in February in the Steeple City Plaza, announced it is closing as part of the bankruptcy filing of its parent company, Stage Stores.

NORTH ADAMS — Just a few months after a grand opening in February, the local Gordmans department store is closing.

The store, which closed due the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in March, will reopen soon to liquidate its merchandise and then close for good as part of the bankruptcy filing of its parent company, Stage Stores.

It is the third retail department store chain top file for bankruptcy amid the global pandemic.

Stage announced on Sunday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, and that it plans to reopen its several hundred stores in phases during the coming weeks to sell off its inventory and close the stores, unless a buyer for the company steps in.

The company will simultaneously solicit bids for a going concern sale of the business or any of its assets and initiate an orderly wind down of operations. The wind down will end at certain locations if a viable bid is offered.

According to a statement released by the company, the health and safety of its employees and customers remains a top priority as it takes a phased approach to reopening for the liquidation of inventory. Officials expect the first phase of approximately 557 stores to open on May 15, with the second phase of about 67 stores expected to open on May 28. The balance of the chain is expected to open on June 4.

"This is a very difficult announcement and it was a decision that we reached only after exhausting every possible alternative," Michael Glazer, president and CEO of Stage Stores, said in a release. "Over the last several months, we had been taking significant steps to attempt to strengthen our financial position and find an independent path forward. However, the increasingly challenging market environment was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily close all of our stores and furlough the vast majority of our associates. Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions."

"We will continue to follow health authorities' recommendations and industry best practices as we reopen to ensure our associates and guests feel comfortable shopping in our stores," Glazer added.

Stage Stores has also filed a number of customary motions seeking court authorization to support its operations during the court-supervised process, including the continued payment of employee wages, salaries and health benefits without interruption for those employees who are working during this time.

As part of the wind down, the company expects to honor existing customer programs, including gift cards and returns, for the first 30 days after a store reopens. The company anticipates that it will stop accepting any outstanding gift cards or honoring other customer programs after that time.