by Stephen Garner

Stein Mart filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida on Wednesday.

The off-price retailer said it expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its 281 brick-and-mortar stores.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based company said in a press release it has already launched a liquidation process to kick off going-out-of-business sales. It said it is evaluating alternatives, including the potential sale of its e-commerce operations and intellectual property.

“The combined effects of a challenging retail environment coupled with the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic have caused significant financial distress on our business,” said Hunt Hawkins, chief executive officer of Stein Mart. “The company has determined that the best strategy to maximize value will be a liquidation of its assets pursuant to an organized going out of business sale. The company lacks sufficient liquidity to continue operating in the ordinary course of business. I would like to thank all of our employees for their dedication and support.”


  1. “Publicly traded” in apparel retailing, essentially, equals “disposable”. When I start seeing names of independents in these notifications, I’ll mourn them and feel badly. Losing THEM means loss of authenticity and passion and connectivity to the communities they serve. Losing Steinmart means shrinkage of the niche that NEEDS to shrink. More good news.

  2. Peter,
    When you made this statement did you stop to think about the 1000’s of people that will be losing their jobs? No, I didn’t think so. I find it interesting that you think people are disposable. I’m sure many people think the stores you are referring and your job is disposable too. Yet, they choose not too share their options with the entire web. I always thought people came first. What did your parents teach you?

  3. Your point is well taken, Teresa.

    The likes of my stores used to employ those thousands whose jobs are now at risk or already eliminated here in Metro Detroit alone. Thousands of independent STORES that served the nation’s cities and suburbs were squeezed out by companies based elsewhere, serving very different masters. Of COURSE I care about those thousands. But I didn’t overbuild American retail while distancing ownership from those employees so as to regard them as numbers. The damage was done long ago, and it was done TO the likes of my company and the actual people we once employed. I could rattle off a very long page of independent operators local to Detroit, all gone, with all those jobs. Undoing what those bigger companies did is immensely painful, just as the pain they inflicted was painful. Perspective here is not irrelevant.

    That said, for sounding so flip and glib about something so wrenching, I do apologize, and take note of in consideration of future commentary. Just know that as we closed stores, WE felt the loss of those jobs for people we knew and cared about personally. It was awful to say goodbye to people that had done nothing wrong, that had done their part in our much smaller, more connected world. And that played out at store after store…..everywhere. Looking back now, having been responsible for those people’s livelihoods, the emotional impact comes right back. The grief from that process for me is older (30 years), and the residual stance after all this time has created a more jaded version of myself that might do better to recognize that loss of a job is the same to the person losing it, no matter who the employer.

    I think I’m right in what I seek and wish for, but I also recognize that I am wrong to sound so cavalier. That wasn’t my point, but I clearly didn’t address that point, either.

  4. Peter,
    Thank you so much for the acknowledgment.
    Having been in retail management for over 35 years I, and many of my friends have experienced loss of employment with several companies. My first was with Hart Schaffner and Marcs than FAO Schwarz and now Stein Mart. I just want you to know that Stein mart was more than you might expect. It gave me any many others a home for over 25 years and was a family to us. There are not many people in retail that can stay in one place for that long. Although Stein Mart didn’t carry the prestige of my past employers it made up for it in heart. If you talk to anyone that shopped at Stein mart the response was always, “I love that Store” because we not only offered great value, we also offered great service with in a family environment.
    I wish you and all of the other retailers out there success and happiness.
    Thank you for hearing me,

Comments are closed.