Mark Shale closing all three stores

by Harry Sheff

CHICAGO—Mark Shale is closing all three of its stores. The Chicago men’s and women’s apparel retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late August and failed to find the financial backing it needed to stay in business.

Mark Shale president Rich Myers said in a statement, “Unfortunately, our efforts to find a strategic partner to help save the business were not successful. We are saddened to say that we now have to close our doors after 83 years. Our business was able to thrive for so many years as a result of our loyal associates and amazing customers. We encourage our customers to take advantage of the extraordinary savings on all of our merchandise as we will be receiving shipments throughout the fall.”

Gordon Brothers Group is handling going-out-of-business sales at the three stores. Sales will include all of the stores’ fixtures. The sales are scheduled to continue until all goods are sold.

“The closing of this iconic Chicago retailer will mark the end of an era,” commented Gordon Brothers Group’s Bob Grosskopf. “Customers are encouraged to shop this sale early and often as the discounts offered are rare on such popular brands. We will be receiving merchandise periodically throughout the sale so we suggest that customers visit the stores often to find the best deals.”

Myers said in August that Mark Shale was looking for a strategic partner. The retailer was saved from the brink in 2009 shortly after the last time it filed for bankruptcy protection, with a $2 million debtor-in-possession financing from a Chicago private equity group called JOB Investments LLC. After the 2009 filing, Mark Shale closed its stores in Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis and its Chicago outlet store, leaving three of its eight stores open.

But that wasn’t the first time Mark Shale filed Chapter 11. That was in 1995, which resulted in five of 13 stores closing.

Mark Shale was founded in 1929 by Al Baskin as Al Baskin Store for Men in Joliet, Illinois. Al Baskin’s son Shale Baskin took over, and ran the chain with his three sons, Scott, Mike and Steve. The first Mark Shale store opened in the 70s in Chicago, and more Chicago and out-of-state stores opened in the 80s and 90s. The chain added a catalog and web business in 2000.

Shale Baskin died in January this year at the age of 84. Scott Baskin, who was CEO, retired in July last year and Rich Myers had been running the company as president.