Stein Mart Declares Bankruptcy, Plans to Close Most Stores

Stein Mart plans to close a 'significant portion,' if not all, of its 281 brick-and-mortar stores.

Stein Mart  (SMRT) - Get Stein Mart, Inc. Report, the discount department store, joined the parade of retailers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The shift to online shopping from brick and mortar and the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic have taken their toll on Jacksonville, Florida-based Stein Mart.

Shares traded at 18 cents, down 38.1%, and have plunged nearly 90% over the past two years.

“The company has filed customary motions with the Bankruptcy Court that will authorize, upon Bankruptcy Court approval, the company’s ability to maintain operations in the ordinary course of business,” Stein Mart said in a statement. That includes paying workers, suppliers and vendors.

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Stein Mart also outlined a restructuring program. It plans to close a “significant portion,” if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores. Stein Mart now has 281 stores across 30 states. 

“The company has launched a store closing and liquidation process,” it said.

“The company is evaluating any and all strategic alternatives, including the potential sale of its eCommerce business and related intellectual property,” Stein Mart said.

CEO Hunt Hawkins outlined Stein Mart’s problems. “The combined effects of a challenging retail environment, coupled with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” he said.

“The company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale. The company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business. I would like to thank all of our employees for their dedication and support.”