Stein Mart Inc. on Wednesday declared it submitted for Chapter 11 personal bankruptcy in the Center District of Florida, Jacksonville Division.

Stein Mart expects to close a considerable portion, if not all, of its 281 brick-and-mortar retailers across 30 states and has released a store closing and liquidation method. The corporation will carry on to operate its enterprise in the shorter term.

Stein Mart has a retail retailer at The Meadows, a procuring middle on Terre Haute’s east side.

The firm submitted to manage operations which includes the payment of employee wages and benefits with out interruption, payment of suppliers and vendors in the standard course of business enterprise, and the use of cash collateral, in accordance to a business launch.

“The mixed outcomes of a difficult retail natural environment coupled with the impression of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused considerable money distress on our enterprise,” Hunt Hawkins, main govt officer and main financial officer of Stein Mart, Inc., stated in a statement.

“The company has established that the finest method to maximize worth will be a liquidation of its belongings pursuant to an structured likely out of small business sale. The corporation lacks sufficient liquidity to keep on functioning in the normal program of enterprise. I would like to thank all of our staff for their determination and assist,” Hawkins said.

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Financial Enhancement Corporation, termed the bankruptcy “disappointing but not surprising specified the several closings of brick-and-mortar organizations and the troubles they confront amid the (COVID-19) pandemic.

“It is a blow to our retail landscape and ideally the entrepreneurs of The Meadows can fill that anchor house,” Witt claimed.

Joyce Younger, professor of marketing and advertising at Indiana Condition University, stated Terre Haute customers “now have less selection to select from if you want to shop in a brick-and-mortar keep.”

Young said Stein Mart customers in Terre Haute could very likely go to a identical store, these types of as TJ Maxx, or go to Walmart or Meijer.

Some others will continue on to transfer online, she claimed.

“We are seeking at apparel and people are acquiring attire on line, so it is really probable additional will shift on the internet. I really do not think Stein Mart is a substantial retailer in Terre Haute in terms of quantity, so it will not hurt like getting rid of a Sears or specifically Macy’s, as there was not a further alternative like that for Terre Haute consumers,” Younger stated.

Having said that, any loss in a brick-and-mortar store implies loss of positions, which impacts the city, Youthful reported.

Robert Guell, professor of economics at Indiana State College, stated the closing of brick and mortar outlets like Stein Mart focuses on the “long perspective of the retail historical past of Terre Haute, the place the town made use of to be a retail hub. It is now, I would say, no more time that,” Guell mentioned.

“The arrival of web shopping, e-retailing and the gorilla that is Amazon has so changed the retail landscape for communities like Terre Haute, Richmond and Effingham, Illinois, the place there is a small metropolis surrounded by a good offer of nothing at all, that utilised to be retail hubs for a location,” Guell reported.

“That is just not the scenario anymore. It is not a large reduction that Stein Mart is going absent, but it is a large decline to the group that retail is no for a longer period a massive contacting card of Terre Haute, Indiana,” Guell mentioned.

Stein Mart said it is evaluating “any and all strategic choices, including the likely sale of its eCommerce business and associated intellectual house.”

The company’s restructuring counsel is Foley & Lardner LLP. Its restructuring advisor is Obvious Wondering Team LLC, and its expense banker is PJ SOLOMON.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be achieved 812-231-4204 or Follow on Twitter@TribStarHoward.