Christopher & Banks files bankruptcy, closing stores

Women’s clothing chain Christopher & Banks Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Wednesday, becoming the latest retailer to succumb to pandemic pressures and an evolving shopping environment.

The publicly traded chain said in a statement that it expects to close “a significant portion, if not all” of its 449 physical stores. The retailer has three stores in the Indianapolis area.

The company issued a statement later in the day that said store-closing sales would begin at all stores.

Christopher & Banks’ website lists 20 Indiana store locations, including three in the Indianapolis area: Hamilton Town Center in Noblesville, The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield and Greenwood Park Mall.

The company determined that selling its brick-and-mortar locations “is not viable or achievable under the current circumstances” and will sell off other assets to repay creditors, court papers show. The retailer said it’s already in talks with a potential buyer for its e-commerce business.

The chain struggled in recent years, racking up losses as e-commerce focused rivals boomed. The pandemic made matters worse—Christopher & Banks had to close all of its stores for more than a month last March. Customer traffic at reopened locations remains suppressed, court papers show.

“Unfortunately, given the debtors’ continued operating losses, decline in sales and the limited runway, the debtors were unable to execute on any out of-court solution for their liquidity constraints,” CEO Keri L. Jones said in a court declaration.

Plymouth, Minnesota-based Christopher & Banks employs almost 3,000 people and operates stores in 44 states, court papers show.

Christopher & Banks reported $166 million of assets and $105 million of liabilities as of Dec. 31. Shares of the retailer dropped 24%, to around 5 cents each, Thursday morning after the filing. The company lost 90% of its value last year.

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