NEW YORK (AP) — Century 21 Stores — a destination for bargain hunters looking for fat deals on designer dresses and shoes, cosmetics and housewares for nearly 60 years — has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is winding down its business, shutting all 13 stores across New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida.
Century 21 joins more than two dozen retailers who have filed for bankruptcy since the pandemic, which forced non-essential stores to temporarily close.
In a statement, the New York-based company said the decision followed nonpayment by the company's insurance providers of approximately $175 million due under policies put in place to protect against losses stemming from business interruption. Insurance money helped it rebuild its flagship store, a magnet for locals and tourists in downtown Manhattan after it was damaged by the 9/11 attacks, the company said.
"We now have no viable alternative but to begin the closure of our beloved family business because our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time," Century 21 co-CEO Raymond Gindi said in statement.
Gindi said if Century 21 had received "any meaningful portion" of the insurance proceeds, it would have been able "to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm in hopes of another incredible recovery."