This Beloved 200-Year-Old Shoe Company Could Be Disappearing

It may be the end of an era for this longstanding footwear brand as stores shutter in multiple countries.

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The near-nationwide lockdowns brought about by the coronavirus pandemic have cratered the U.S. economy, leaving many companies shuttering some of their stores and others closing down altogether. Earlier this month, you may have heard about H&M closing 250 stores, but now, there's another beloved brand, an even older one, you may have to say goodbye to. Clarks, founded in England in 1825, is closing as many as 50 of its stores. According to an Oct. 7 report published in the Eastern Daily Press, the shoe company is making a bid to stay afloat by closing up to 50 stores in the U.K., a decision that follows recent closures in the U.S., as well.

On Sept. 14, the Boston Globe reported that Clarks could be closing up to a quarter of the brand's U.S. retail stores by the end of 2021, knocking the number of stateside locations down from 214 to "somewhere in the mid-100s," according to Clarks Americas president Gary Champion. "We overextended our brick-and-mortar portfolio," he explained. (Company representatives say that number of store closures is not definitive.)

clarks store entrance within mall
Shutterstock/Martin Good

This isn't the first setback for the brand in recent months, however. In April, World Footwear reported that Clarks was considering closing a number of its 347 U.K. retail locations. In May, the brand announced that it would be eliminating 1,000 jobs around the world over the following 18 months, with a managing director telling Drapers that "redundancies were inevitable."

Clarks is making a final Hail Mary pass to keep stores open, with Reuters reporting that the company offered LionRock Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment firm, an opportunity to be the majority shareholder in the business, which is valued at as much as $193 million.

As you know, Clarks is far from the only store that's been forced to make major changes in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Read on to discover which other stores are winding down operations. And for more insight into which businesses are shutting their doors, This Major Movie Theater Chain Just Announced It's Closing All Locations.

1
H&M

H&M store front, brand acronym names
Shutterstock

On Oct. 1, clothing and housewares brand H&M announced that it would be closing 250 of its 5,076 stores due to a COVID-related loss in sales. In a statement, the brand noted that "more and more customers started shopping online during the pandemic."

While, at one point during the pandemic, 80 percent of the chain's stores were temporarily shuttered as a safety precaution, the majority have reopened, with representatives for the brand expressing their optimism regarding their ability to stay afloat going forward. "Although the challenges are far from over, we believe that the worst is behind us and we are well placed to come out of the crisis stronger," H&M CEO Helena Helmersson said in a statement. Wondering which other shops aren't long for this world? This Beloved Home Store Is Closing More Than Half of Its Locations.

2
Neiman Marcus

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - May 24, 2014: The Neiman Marcus location on Las Vegas Boulevard in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. Neiman Marcus is a chain of luxury department stores with locations across the US.
iStock

Neiman Marcus cited the "unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic" as a major factor in the brand's decision to file for bankruptcy in May. However, in September, the brand emerged from the bankruptcy process after closing just 22 of its U.S. locations.

3
Nordstrom

Nordstrom
Shutterstock

In May, Nordstrom announced that it would be closing 16 of its department stores in addition to its three high-end Jeffrey stores, according to a report from CNBC. However, those represent just a small fraction of the brand's stateside portfolio, with 100 of the company's department stores and its Nordstrom Rack locations remaining unaffected by these changes. And for more news on your favorite stores, sign up for our daily newsletter.

4
Lord & Taylor

Lord and Taylor store with closing sale sign
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Department store Lord & Taylor, which first opened its doors in 1826, announced on Aug. 27 that it would be closing all of its 38 stores for good following its bankruptcy filing earlier that month. "We believe it is prudent to simultaneously put the remainder of the stores into liquidation to maximize value of inventory for the estate while pursuing options for the Company's brands," Ed Kremer, the company's chief restructuring office, said in a statement.

5
Stein Mart

A Stein Mart location in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Stein Mart is a chain of department stores in the US.
iStock

Discount department store Stein Mart filed for bankruptcy in August, shortly after which the company announced its intention to close all of its 280 retail locations. The brand wasted no time offloading its empty stores, with A&G Real Estate partners listing all of its storefronts for rent on Sept. 14. And for more stores we're saying goodbye to, This Beloved Retail Chain Could Be Closing a Store Near You.

6
Century 21

century 21 department store exterior
Shutterstock

Century 21, a regional department store beloved by everyone from real-life celebrities to fictional characters like Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, announced on Sept. 10 that its 13 locations in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania would be shutting down.

There was clearly no love lost between Century 21 and its insurers following the news. "Our insurers, to whom we have paid significant premiums every year for protection against unforeseen circumstances like we are experiencing today, have turned their backs on us at this most critical time," Century 21 co-CEO Raymond Gindi said in a blistering statement.

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