Countless stores have shuttered since the COVID pandemic began, and now yet another beloved chain is on the chopping block. On Feb. 18, Solstice Marketing Concepts LLC, the company behind sunglasses retailer Solstice, announced its filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which currently operates 66 brick-and-mortar stores and an e-commerce business, saw its profits fall by more than 50 percent from 2019 to 2020, and the chain’s future is still in limbo.
While the company has not yet announced which, if any, of its stores will close as a result of the chain’s bankruptcy filing, Solstice CEO Mikey Rosenberg admitted that changes are underway. “We are optimistic about reorganization as we continue to see increasing business in our stores as COVID restrictions are lifted and in the new fashions that our vendors are providing, ” Rosenberg said in a statement. “We are now dedicating ourselves to the necessary changes to our business and the restructure of our obligations for the benefit of our employees, critical suppliers and other stakeholders.”
Solstice isn’t the only chain that’s recently been hit hard by the economic impact of the pandemic, however. Read on to find out which other brands are struggling as a result of the financial fallout from COVID. And for more stores faltering amid the pandemic, This Legendary Brand Is Closing Its Last Remaining Stores.
Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret is shuttering between 30 and 50 of its brick-and-mortar locations, according to USA Today. The announcement was made on Feb. 24 by Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, Ohio-based L Brands. While there has not yet been an announcement regarding which of the company’s stores will close, L Brands already shut down 250 Victoria’s Secret stores in 2020 and is reportedly looking to spin off Victoria’s Secret into its own separate company. And for more beloved stores closing up shop, This Popular Beauty Brand Is Shutting Down for Good.
On Feb. 23, department store Belk filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Houston, Texas, The Charlotte Observer reports. The store, which has been operating continuously for 133 years, announced that, in spite of its bankruptcy, there were no plans to lay off employees or close stores.
The following day, Belk emerged from bankruptcy with a new restructuring agreement, shedding $450 million in debt. In a statement, the company said: “The infusion of cash and reduction in debt provides Belk with increased liquidity to focus on its key initiatives for growth, including further enhancements to its omnichannel capabilities and the expansion of merchandise offerings into new, relevant product categories,” including home, wellness, and outdoor goods. And for the latest store closure news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Fry’s Electronics, a popular chain with 36 stores in the U.S., abruptly announced in late February that it would be closing down all of its locations for good. The chain, which first opened in California in 1985, broke the news via its website on Feb. 24, and shuttered all other aspects of its online business that same day.
“Fry’s Electronics, Inc. has made the difficult decision to shut down its operations and close its business permanently as a result of changes in the retail industry and the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the company said in a statement. And for another beloved brand whose stores are also gone for good, check out This Iconic Store Is Closing All Its U.S. Locations.
Ralph Lauren, beloved for its preppy fashion, announced during a February investor call that it would be shuttering up to 10 of its stores and reducing its corporate footprint by as much as 30 percent. The brand hopes to “pivot resources to our key strategic priorities,” including focusing on its e-commerce business, Ralph Lauren CFO and COO Jane Nielsen explained. And for a very different kind of company that’s also in trouble, check out This Popular Pizza Chain Just Filed for Bankruptcy.