The parent company of the century-old retailer of wear-to-work women's wear New York & Company has filed for bankruptcy protection. RTW Retailwinds Inc, which filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection on Monday, announced plans of closing all of its stores in the U.S. and laying off more than 4,500 of its full-time and part-time employees.
The company mentioned in a statement that it will be closing a large portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar locations as it begins the liquidation of its assets. RTW also added that it is considering selling its e-commerce business along with its intellectual property. It did note that selling its assets may be difficult given the current state of the economy.
In its bankruptcy filing, RTW acknowledged that the coronavirus pandemic had dealt the final blow to its operations as it could no longer keep up with its debts and expenses. The company stated that prior to the pandemic, the adverse market trends and the global shift to e-commerce and online shopping had already put a strain on its finances.
In December last year, the company had announced plans to reduce its outlets due to the continually falling foot traffic inside shopping centers and the shift in consumer taste. RTW even resorted to subleasing its four-story headquarter in Manhattan to recoup some of its expenses.
The company, which owns other brands such as Happy x Nature and Fashion To Figure, stated that the bankruptcy should allow it to keep operating for a few months while it works with the bankruptcy court and its creditors. As the pandemic started to spread in the United States, RTW was forced to furlough a good chunk of its workforce similar to other retailers. It stated that it had to let go of around 12 percent of its workforce as its stores were forced to shut down.
New York & Co, which was founded in 1918 and previously called Lerner Shops, is one of the country's more popular women's wear brands. Its stores are mostly located inside shopping malls and the brand has worked with popular celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Eva Mendes.
As of December 2019, the company had about 378 outlets located in 32 states. At the height of the pandemic in the US, the company was forced to close all of its New York & Co stores. Due to the closures and the sharp decline in demand for its products, RTW finally decided to throw in the towel. The company is the latest US retailer to file for bankruptcy, following other iconic brands such as J. Crew Group, J.C. Penney, and Neiman Marcus.