Following months of speculation, Stage Stores Inc. today filed for Chapter 11 protection in Texas bankruptcy court.
The Houston-based company operates 738 units across several banners, including Gordmans, which it acquired out of bankruptcy in 2017, as well as Bealls, Goody’s and the Stage name. In its filing, Stage Stores listed estimated liabilities of between $500 million and $1 billion — the same range as its estimated assets.
In court documents obtained by FN, Stage Stores listed fashion and footwear brands among its largest creditors. Nike tops the list with an unsecured claim of $3.6 million, while Skechers is owed more than $2.3 million and Ralph Lauren has an owed payment of over $2.1 million. Meanwhile, Levi is owed over $2 million, and Adidas has an owed balance of just under $1.9 million.
Other major Stage Stores creditors in the shoe space include Columbia Sportswear, which is owed $1.1 million, as well as Fila, with an unsecured claim of over $940,000. Further, New Balance is owed more than $580,000, while Famous Footwear parent Caleres’ owed balance stands at over $480,000.
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Stage Stores has faced numerous challenges for some time. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company had hired outside consultants to aid in financial restructuring, adding that it would likely file for Chapter 11 protection. A Retail Dive report from February said that Stage Stores had slashed more than 20 corporate staffers and scheduled upwards of 70 stores for closure.
Then, in March, as the novel coronavirus started its rapid spread across the United States, the company said it would place “virtually all” of its employees across stores, field support roles and distribution centers on unpaid leave until further notice. Eighty associates “who perform essential functions” were not furloughed.
In April, Stage Stores CEO Michael Glazer and chief merchandising officer Thorsten Weber said that the company’s’ advisers at PJ Solomon, an investment bank, were looking for a restructuring partner to help boost cash flow or refinance the company’s debt. Additionally, the retailer said it was cutting costs, asking landlords to slash rent and looking into potential benefits from government bailout packages.