Nearly 60-year-old department store Century 21 filed for bankruptcy and plans to close all of its stores

century 21 store
A person wearing a protective face mask walks near the Century 21 retail store in Lower Manhattan during Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on August 2, 2020 in New York, New York.
  • Off-price department store chain Century 21 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and said it would wind down its business.
  • It has 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida. 
  • "While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, 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," co-CEO Raymond Gindi said in a statement.
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Century 21, the off-price department store chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday and announced it would be winding down its business. 

Founded in 1961, the retailer has 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Florida.  

In a statement, the company said it was forced to file for bankruptcy because it was not paid $175 million it said was due under insurance policies "put in place to protect against losses stemming from business interruption such as that experienced as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic."

"While insurance money helped us to rebuild after suffering the devastating impact of 9/11, 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," co-CEO Raymond Gindi said.

A Century 21 store located across the street from the World Trade Center remained closed for nearly six months and underwent a $10 million renovation after suffering damage in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Gindi continued: "While retailers across the board have suffered greatly due to COVID-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we are confident that had we received any meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we would have been able to save thousands of jobs and weather the storm, in hopes of another incredible recovery."

Going-out-of-business sales are beginning at Century 21 stores and online.

"Since 1961, when Al and Sonny Gindi opened what was then a small store in Downtown Manhattan, we have been proud to provide shoppers with unmatched access to designer brands at amazing prices," co-CEO IG Gindi said.

"While we wish that Century 21 could continue to be a must-see shopping destination for so many, we are proud of the pioneering role it has played in off-price retail and the iconic brand it has become. It has been a true honor for us to be part of the vibrant New York City fashion scene and to serve millions of locals, tourists, and celebrities, side by side."

Century 21 joins the more than 30 major retailers and restaurant companies to file for bankruptcy so far in 2020. Fellow department stores Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and Lord & Taylor have also announced bankruptcy proceedings. 

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