TWIN FALLS — Christopher & Banks, which has a store in the Magic Valley Mall, has declared bankruptcy and said it may close all its stores.
The women’s apparel chain said Thursday it filed voluntary petitions for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.
The company said it has launched a store closing and liquidation process as it is in active discussion with potential buyers and expects to close a large portion, if not all, of its stores.
However, later in the day it sent out a news release saying closing sales had begun at all its locations nationwide.
The Plymouth, Minnesota, company, founded in 1956, operates 449 stores in 44 states. It has five stores in Idaho; the others are in Boise, Idaho Falls, Chubbuck and Moscow. A previous store in Nampa’s Karcher Mall closed earlier.
Nationwide, Christopher & Banks operates 315 MPW (Missy, Petite, Women) stores, 76 outlet stores, 31 Christopher & Banks stores and 28 C.J. Banks stores.
In a news release, CEO Keri Jones blamed the coronavirus pandemic for stifling sales.
“Despite the tremendous advancements we have made in executing our strategic plan, due to the financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we elected to initiate this process and pursue a potential sale of the business in whole or in part,” Jones wrote.
The filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New Jersey came a month after Christopher & Banks announced the hiring of strategic advisers and said it was working to restructure its debt while exploring alternatives.
In June, the company obtained $10 million under the federal Paycheck Protection Program meant to help businesses keep workers employed.
Hilco Merchant Resources announced Thursday that it will handle the liquidation of inventory at all Christopher & Banks stores.
It said customers would save 40% to 60% off original prices on all merchandise.
The sale will also include store fixtures.