There’s an alarming amount of well-recognized, long-standing companies that have filed for bankruptcy protection during the Covid-19 pandemic. Maybe because the announcements have been spread out over time, this big issue hasn’t received the appropriate media coverage. When the corporations file for bankruptcy, stores, factories and facilities are closed down and tens of thousands of workers are laid off. As several sectors have been hit hard, there may not be any jobs available for those who’ve been downsized. For instance, over the last couple of months, we have witnessed bankruptcy filings—ranging from retail stores to oil and gas producers.
Lord & Taylor, the oldest retailer in the nation, founded in 1826, filed for bankruptcy protection. Previously, J.C. Penney, J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Dungarees, Neiman Marcus, Lucky Brand, True Religion, the parent company of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, Catherines stores and Tailored Brands, which owns Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank.
Retailing has always been a tough market to operate. Profits can be razor thin and if shops miss a trend or have a bad holiday selling season, they’re in trouble. Now, they have to compete against the Amazon juggernaut. It’s almost impossible for these mostly mall-based chains to survive and compete against Amazon when they were forced to close down their operations. Even when opened, fear of contracting the virus made many people stay away. Those who bravely went to the malls and stores had to wear masks and felt uncomfortable trying on clothes that may have been worn by a number of other folks.
Collectively, these companies will shutter thousands of their stores throughout the country. With the closures and less business, significantly large numbers of workers will lose their jobs. There’s a huge dilemma for the newly unemployed—where can they go if all of the other department and retail stores have either closed or are not faring well in this environment? They’ll join the ranks of the over 53 million Americans who’ve already filed for unemployment benefits. For now, the newly jobless won’t receive the enhanced $600 per week that was part of the federal government’s stimulus package, which ended in July.