Iconic Department Store Century 21 Is Reopening Next Week

The retailer is returning to the U.S. after closing all of its stores during COVID.

The COVID pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe—and the retail world was hit hard. In 2020, we saw big names like Lord & Taylor and Stein Mart go out of business completely. Even now, stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Tuesday Morning have declared bankruptcy, and stable businesses like Walmart and Target continue to pare down unprofitable locations. But one victim of the retail apocalypse is looking to make a comeback. After closing all of its stores during the pandemic, Century 21 is finally reopening. Read on to learn more about the department store's imminent return.

READ THIS NEXT: Tuesday Morning Is Going Out of Business and Closing All Stores.

Century 21 closed all of its stores in 2020.

Going out of business sign on Century 21 department store in Long Island. Century 21 chain closing up all 13 stores as forced to file for bankruptcy
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Century 21 had a humble beginning, with just a small storefront on Cortlandt Street in New York, according to Forbes. The discount department store expanded over time and became a popular destination for shoppers to score significant savings on high-fashion items. But despite managing to stand the test of time for nearly 60 years, COVID forced Century 21 out of business.

When the pandemic started, the retailer had 13 stores spread throughout New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Florida, with new locations under development on Long Island and at the massive American Dream mall in New Jersey. But in Sept. 2020, Century 21 announced that it would be closing all of its stores and going out of business after failing to secure an insurance payment to protect against financial losses.

All of the Century 21's retail locations closed before the start of 2021. But now, three years later, the company is finally ready to make its comeback.

The retailer has been teasing its return for some time.

Former home of a Century 21 department store, now vacant real estate, in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of the Upper West Side in New York
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Century 21 didn't stay down for long. Just two months after closing its last few remaining stores, the company had already started teasing a potential return.

"Never count out a New Yorker," Century 21 said in a Feb. 2021 press release, explaining that it would revive its brand that year with the opening of its first global store in South Korea. At the time, the retailer indicated that it would also be relaunching its brand in New York at some point down the line.

It took over a year before Century 21 officially announced its return to the U.S.

"Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker," the retailer said in a May 2022 press release, confirming that it would bring back its flagship location across from the World Trade Center. The company confirmed that the reopening would occur sometime in spring 2023—and now, shoppers are just days away from getting to set foot in this iconic department store again.

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The store is reopening next week.

century 21 department store exterior
Shutterstock

We finally have an official date for the return of the first Century 21 store in the U.S. since 2020, and it's just around the corner.

A spokesperson for the company told Crain's New York that Century 21's flagship store in the Financial District will hold its grand reopening on May 16. This location was originally expected to open its doors on April 25, but it remained closed to the public through the end of the month, according to the newspaper.

Best Life reached out to Century 21 to get insight on why the reopening was pushed back, and we will update this story with their response.

But May 16 is looking like a done deal, as the company has confirmed this reopening date on its official website.

"We are back! The opening you've been waiting for is here," Century 21's home page states. "Our doors at our flagship location are officially opening on Tuesday, May 16 at 12 p.m. We can't wait for you to see what we have in store."

The new Century 21 store will have some noticeable differences.

Century 21 Department Store at Rego Center, Queens on Nov 4, 2015 in New York, USA.
Shutterstock

Customers shouldn't expect the flagship Century 21 location to look exactly the way it did before the pandemic, however. The revived department store is expected to cover a total of 100,000 square feet, which is only about half the size of its former store, according to The Tribeca Trib.

But Century 21 has already been advertising a "revitalized shopping experience" for customers after partnering with retail operations company Legends Hospitality for its relaunch.

"As a result of this partnership, Century 21 will be introducing a more streamlined customer shopping experience through in-store upgrades and an elevated, e-commerce presence, which will debut at the same time the brick and mortar store opens its doors," the retailer said in its 2022 release. "The re-opened Cortlandt Street location will span the four main floors of the original downtown space and will offer men's, women's and children's designer apparel, footwear, outerwear, handbags, accessories, and fragrances."

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