If you are thinking about going on a shopping spree this Fourth of July weekend, you might be a bit disappointed, not only because reopening has been slowed nationwide due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. On the bright side, some of your favorite retailers may still be around once the reopening resumes.
While the months-long lockdown has crushed more than a dozen department stores and apparel brands into either bankruptcy or severe downsizing, most of them will continue normal storefront operation until they run out of cash. That means you can still shop at those stores as long as they exist—and have reopened.
Victoria’s Secret has been in the process of permanently closing 250 locations in North America since its private equity buyout deal fell apart in May. Its parent company, L Brands, will continue operating the remaining 600 stores at least throughout 2020. Those locations, along with L Brands-owned Bath & Body Works stores, are in phased reopening in accordance with local rules.
The debt-ridden apparel chain filed for bankruptcy in early May. But fans of its preppy clothes and accessories will still be able to shop as usual for the foreseeable future. As of this week, J.Crew has reopened 60 percent of its 500 stores.
The retailer may eventually have to permanently close dozens of stores as a result of Chapter 11 restructuring. The company is currently negotiating store lease terms with landlords.
The Canadian shoe seller went bankrupt in May. But its ownership reorganization looks hopeful so far. The company’s 1,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada are in the process of reopening. You can check the status of your nearby Aldo stores on the company website.
On the more embattled department store side, things aren’t looking that bad, either.
JCPenney, which filed for bankruptcy in May, has reopened the bulk of its stores. And they are actually generating healthy revenue streams that could even help the struggling retailer negotiate a good deal with lenders.
Attorneys representing JCPenney on Wednesday told a Texas bankruptcy judge that revenues from reopened locations had surpassed initial projections ahead of an upcoming Chapter 11 deadline. JCPenney has until July 8 to submit a restructuring plan to the court. Its first-lien lenders will then have a week to decide whether they approve the plan.
Although Macy’s has suffered record losses and slashed thousands of jobs in the past three months, the majority of its 775 stores are open by now, including those located inside malls that are still closed.
The remaining stores will likely reopen more slowly, depending on the direction of the pandemic. “While we do not expect another national shutdown, we do anticipate a regional impact as consumers are encouraged to stay home,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette told investors on Wednesday during the company’s quarterly earnings call.
Neiman Marcus, which also filed for Chapter 11 in early May, is on track to proceed with bankruptcy reorganization through fall this year, meaning store operation will remain stable until then.
Last month, the department store chain obtained a judge approval to access nearly $700 million of new financing, which CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck said will provide “ample liquidity to ensure business continuity as we gradually reopen our stores, invest in fall inventory and fund the expansion of our digital offerings.”
Sears and Kmart
Those who followed Sears’ epic downfall in 2018 might think that the brand is long gone. It still exists, actually, although on a much smaller scale. Since emerging from Chapter 11 in early 2019, Sears had shrunk the number of its Sears and Kmart stores from more than 400 to just 200. About half of them have reopened.
Surprisingly, a few dozen Kmart stores never closed during the lockdown because they sell some groceries and are thus deemed as essential businesses throughout the pandemic.