HARLINGEN — The parent company of the popular Bealls stores in the Valley has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Houston-based Stage Stores Inc., which also owns Gordmans, Peebles, Palais Royal, and Goody’s stores, filed for Chapter 11 restructuring Sunday.
In March, Stage announced it was closing all of its 15 Bealls outlets in the Valley with the exception of the Port Isabel location.
The bankruptcy filing as well as the earlier store closures was a dramatic reversal of Stage Stores’ plans announced just last October.
At that time, Stage announced it would hold sales at its Bealls locations as it transitioned those outlets to Gordmans stores.
Like all departments stores, the Stage brands have been shut down across the country due to coronavirus, and it anticipates reopening its 700 stores in phases beginning Friday.
In its filing, Stage listed assets and liabilities between $500 million and $1 billion each. Executives said they are seeking a buyer for the company.
“This is a very difficult announcement and it was a decision that we reached only after exhausting every possible alternative,” Michael Glazer, president and CEO of Stage Stores, said in a statement.
“Over the last several months, we had been taking significant steps to attempt to strengthen our financial position and find an independent path forward,” Glazer added. “However, the increasingly challenging market environment was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which required us to temporarily close all of our stores and furlough the vast majority of our associates. Given these conditions, we have been unable to obtain necessary financing and have no choice but to take these actions.”
The bankruptcy announcement also said the company expects to honor existing customer programs, including gift cards and returns, for the first 30 days after a store reopens. Once that time has elapsed, no gift cards will be accepted.