Brooks Brothers, one of America's oldest fashion retailers, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection on Wednesday amid its search for a buyer. CNBC reports that the retailer, which was founded in 1818 and has provided wardrobes to 40 U.S. presidents, has seen a profound economic impact since the coronavirus pandemic caused countless retailers to close. As a result of the bankruptcy filing, dozens of Brooks Brothers stores will cease business.
"Over the past year, Brooks Brothers’ board, leadership team, and financial and legal advisors have been evaluating various strategic options to position the company for future success, including a potential sale of the business," a company spokesperson said in a statement. "During this strategic review, COVID-19 became immensely disruptive and took a toll on our business."
The retailer began to take steps to evaluate which stores to close in April, eventually shuttering 51 of its 250 North American locations. Worldwide, Brooks Brothers has over 500 stores and is estimated to employ 4,025 people.
"We are in the process of identifying the right owner, or owners, to lead our iconic Brooks Brothers brand into the future," the spokesperson added. "It is critical that any potential buyer aligns with our core values, culture, and ambitions. Further details on the sale process will be made available in the coming days."
In 2019, the brand generated $991 million in sales, only 20 percent of which were online. The company plans to stop manufacturing clothing at facilities in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and New York by Aug. 15.
Over the past few months, scores of fashion retailers have filed for bankruptcy amid economic issues during the pandemic. J.C. Penney filed for bankruptcy in May, as did J.Crew earlier in the month. In April, Neiman Marcus and True Religion made the same more. More recently, Takashi Murakami indicated that the economic impact of the coronavirus could see his company file for bankruptcy.