Century 21 Stores, a grand name in discount retail in New York City, said Thursday it has filed under Chapter 11 of U.S. bankruptcy law and will wind down its retail operations.
The chain is conducting going-out-of-business sales at its 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida after nearly 60 years of operations.
“The decision follows non-payment by the company's insurance providers of approximately $175 million due under policies put in place to protect against losses stemming from business interruption such as that experienced as a direct result of the covid-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement.
"While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, we now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time," Co-Chief Executive Raymond Gindi said.
"While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to covid-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery."
Century 21’s flagship location at 22 Cortlandt Street in New York City's Financial District, was a beehive of activity among downtown denizens.
It had an emotional reopening in early 2002, after repairs were completed for damages incurred on 9/11.
Century 21 joins a host of other retailers that have filed under the bankruptcy laws during the pandemic, including J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers.