Brooks Brothers files for bank­ruptcy, clos­ing more than 25% of stores

Chicago Sun-Times - - BUSINESS - BY JOSEPH PISANI AND MATT OTT AP Business Writ­ers

NEW YORK — Brooks Brothers, the 200-year-old com­pany that dressed nearly ev­ery U.S. pres­i­dent, filed for bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion Wed­nes­day, the lat­est ma­jor cloth­ing seller to be top­pled by the pan­demic.

Founded in New York in 1818, Brooks Brothers sur­vived two world wars, the Great De­pres­sion and even man­aged to stay afloat as dress stan­dards eased in the of­fice. But the pan­demic pushed it into Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion.

Brooks Brothers will per­ma­nently close more than a quar­ter of its 200 stores. It said Wed­nes­day that it will con­tinue op­er­a­tions as it re­struc­tures and is look­ing to re­open shops that are not be­ing closed per­ma­nently. The com­pany em­ployed 4,000 peo­ple in March, be­fore it fur­loughed about a third of its work­ers.

Jonathan Paster­nak, a bank­ruptcy lawyer at David­off Hutcher & Citron, said that even be­fore the pan­demic, Brooks Brothers’ store ex­pan­sion and the cost of mak­ing clothes in the U.S. had cre­ated a fi­nan­cial bur­den, but he does not be­lieve the com­pany will dis­ap­pear.

“The good thing about Brooks Brothers: It’s a very strong brand,” he said.

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