Department store blames insurers as it files for bankruptcy and closes

Century 21 Stores, an iconic chain of off-price department stores in New York, has filed for bankruptcy with plans to close, becoming the latest victim of the retail industry carnage that has accelerated during the pandemic.

The retailer will maintain sales at its 13 stores in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, according to a company statement. The company listed assets and liabilities of up to $500 million each in its bankruptcy petition filed Thursday.

The company had “no viable alternative” to shutting down after its insurers failed to pay some $175 million in Century 21 claims owed to it under business interruption policies, the company said. co-director general Raymond Gindi in the press release.

Insurance companies “turned their backs on us at this most critical time,” Gindi said. “While retailers at all levels have suffered greatly due to Covid-19, and Century 21 is no exception, we believe that had we received a meaningful portion of the insurance proceeds, we could have saved lives. thousands of jobs and weather the storm.”

Disputes over business interruption insurance have been lappear in court en masse, with insurers saying pandemics are not covered. More than 1,100 insurance lawsuits related to Covid-19 have been filed nationwide, according to Data compiled by the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth.

Century 21 has sued several of its insurers for nonpayment, the company said. He will move that lawsuit to bankruptcy court and seek a speedy judgment, according to the statement.

The bankruptcy case is Century 21 Department Stores LLC, 20-12097, US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Pictured: A general view of a Century 21 department store sign photographed on March 20, 2020 in Westbury, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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