New Gordmans stores in Milford, Seaford part of bankruptcy fallout

SUSSEX COUNTY — Economic fallout from COVID-19 has claimed new Gordmans stores in Seaford and Milford, retail links in the parent Stage Stores Inc. chain that has filed for bankruptcy.

Houston-based Stage announced May 11 it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, having failed to find a buyer for the chain that includes Gordmans, Peebles, Bealls, Palais Royal, Goody’s and Stage stores.

In filing for bankruptcy, Stage Stores cited retail shutdowns that began in March with the onset of COVID-19 and inability to secure financing to maintain continued operation of the chain.

Stage Stores had just completed transition of two of its Peebles department stores in downstate Delaware to Gordmans, the company’s off-price retailer, when the coronavirus crisis struck in mid-March.

“We recognize how hard the last few months have been on our guests and our associates,” Stage Stores President/CEO Michael Glazer said in an announcement on the company website. “Like many others, our business was significantly impacted by COVID-19. We temporarily closed all of our stores as we have worked to manage through this challenging environment. Despite all of our efforts, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing to continue operating as an independent business.

“We have therefore filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11, as we simultaneously run a sale process for our business or any of our assets and initiate an orderly wind-down of our operations,” Mr. Glazer said.

Stage Stores plans to reopen its stores in phases, starting on May 15, with updates via its website — / — about the timing and location of store openings.

The Milford Gordmans is in the Milford Plaza on N. DuPont Highway. The Gordmans in Seaford is in the Seaford Village Shopping Center on Sussex Highway. These Delaware stores are not on the list of Gordmans stores planning to reopen May 15.

The Peebles location at the Rehoboth Mall on Route 1 remains closed, with signs stating it will reopen when the state order is lifted.

In 2018, Stage began testing the market with conversion of department stores to Gordmans off-price stores and in 2019 announced long-term strategy to convert its full department store chain to Gordmans. Stage had planned on operating approximately 700 Gordmans locations by mid-2020.

“We hope our actions over the last several months to reposition the business will attract the right partner who is interested in our off-price concept,” said Mr. Glazer. “If we receive a viable bid for the business, we will terminate our wind down of operations at certain locations. This is incredibly difficult news to deliver and it is a decision that we came to after exhausting all other options.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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