This Popular Pizza Chain Just Filed for Bankruptcy

The company says COVID has dealt a "sudden and significant blow" to its finances.

As COVID continues to wreak havoc on the restaurant industry, a beloved pizza chain has been forced to file for bankruptcy. Cici's, a buffet pizza restaurant with approximately 318 locations spread across 26 states, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the chain's home state of Texas on Jan. 25. Read on to discover what this means for Cici's future, and for some less beloved eateries, This Is the Most Hated Restaurant Chain in America.

In 2009, Cici's had 650 restaurants across the U.S., a number that had dipped to 430 as of 2016, according to Debtwire. In the chain's bankruptcy filing, Cici's reported $81.64 million in debt, with the chain's CFO, Richard Peabody, announcing that the pandemic had dealt a "sudden and significant blow" to the brand's financial security.

When COVID hit the U.S. in March, Cici's temporarily closed 203 of its restaurants, permanently closed 61, laid off 39 corporate employees, and cut executive pay by 25 percent in a bid to free up cash. However, the pandemic still "significantly disrupted Cici's restaurant operations and severely limited customer demand," forcing the company's hand when it came to filing, according to Peabody. He noted in court documents that in-person dining typically accounts for close to 99 percent of the chain's earnings.

While Cici's hasn't yet announced which, if any, additional locations will close, it's just the latest in a long line of pandemic casualties. Read on to discover which other brands are closing up shop due to COVID. And for more stores that aren't long for this world, This Iconic Department Store Just Filed For Bankruptcy.

1
L'Occitane

l'occitane storefront
Shutterstock/Boris-B

Beloved beauty and wellness brand L'Occitane announced that it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 26. In the company's bankruptcy filing, L'Occitane announced that its in-person sales had dropped 56.5 percent between April and Dec. 2020, and that, in response to a subsequent rise in online sales, it would be shuttering 23 of its 166 stateside stores. And for more companies buckling amid the pandemic, This Beloved Chain Is Closing All of Its Stores.

2
Godiva

godiva store exterior
Shutterstock/PJjaruwan

In January, iconic chocolatier Godiva announced that it would be closing all 128 of its stores in the U.S. by the end of March. "Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hardworking chocolatiers who will be impacted. We are grateful for all they have done to make wonderful moments for our consumers and spread happiness through incredible customer service and living our values and behaviors," said Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi in a statement. However, the company will continue to sell its chocolates at many stores throughout the U.S., and plans to increase its distribution of products through these channels, "making it even easier for our consumers to enjoy Godiva," said Afridi. And for more companies making big changes, This Beloved Home Goods Chain Is Closing More Than 40 Stores.

3
Belk

the outside of a Belk Department Store in Cape Coral, Florida
Shutterstock

Department store Belk, which operates 300 stores throughout the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan 26., 2021. The chain, which opened its first retail location 130 years ago, will continue "normal operations" during its restructuring, which will help it offload approximately $450 million in debtUSA Today reports. And for the latest store closure news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Christopher & Banks

A young woman wearing a face mask shopping in a retail clothing store amid the coronavirus pandemic
iStock

Christopher & Banks, a clothing store with 449 U.S. locations, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Jan. 14. The store announced that it "expects to close a significant portion, if not all, of its brick-and-mortar stores" in the near future due to the losses it had recently incurred. "Due to the financial distress resulting from the pandemic and its ongoing impact, we elected to initiate this process and pursue a potential sale of the business in whole or in part to position the Company for the future," the company's president and CEO, Keri Jones, said in a statement. And for another brand that's starting to disappear, check out This Popular Clothing Store Is Closing at Least 200 Locations.

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