The COVID-19 crisis has claimed its first retail victim.
Retail giant J. Crew became the first national store brand to file for bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, and it’s expected to not be the last, according to reports.
The preppy-store titan said it has filed to begin Chapter 11 proceedings and will restructure to stay afloat. That company said it will convert $1.65 billion of its debt to equity in a deal with its lenders.
J.Crew Group CEO Jan Singer said that operations will continue and that the move was designed to keep the business alive.
“We will continue to provide our customers with the exceptional merchandise and service they expect from us, and we will continue all day-to-day operations, albeit under these extraordinary COVID-19-related circumstances,” Singer said in a statement. “As we look to reopen our stores as quickly and safely as possible, this comprehensive financial restructuring should enable our business and brands to thrive for years to come.”
J. Crew was forced to close most of its 500 stores during the COVID-19 crisis, including outposts like Madewell, its trendy denim brand, and J. Crew Factory. It’s been popular with several celebrities including Michelle Obama and Reese Witherspoon.
Although J. Crew is the first retail casualty of the pandemic, there are likely more to come due to continued closings of stores around the country. CNN reported Sears, JCPenney, and Neiman Marcus are also companies that were struggling prior to the pandemic.
Fortune reported Neiman Marcus could make a bankruptcy court filing as soon as this week.
Kyle Schnitzer is a staff reporter for Ladders.