FARGO — The last day of business for the Fargo and Grand Forks Gordmans department stores is Saturday, Aug. 29.
What was once expected to be part of a retrenching and reorganization plan for Gordmans’ parent company, Stage Stores, ended up being an early wave in the complete liquidation of the corporation.
Law360 recently reported that a Texas bankruptcy judge approved Stage Stores’ plans to finish its liquidation and shut down its remaining stores after a deal could not be struck to sell the corporation.
Six months ago, the 55,000-square-foot Fargo store at 5100 14th Ave. S. was packed with merchandise. The sales since have greatly thinned out the offerings, and fixtures and furniture are being sold.
“I guess I feel kind of sad,” said Sherry Schilz, as she finished loading her items into her car Monday, Aug. 24.
“It’s one more store that’s closing,” Schilz of Hankinson, N.D., said. “Our (retail) community is getting smaller and smaller. I feel bad for them.”
A Fargo store manager verified the closing date but declined further comment.
The Gordmans in Minot is on track to close sometime around the end of September, an employee there said.
The closing of the Bismarck Gordmans was announced in mid-May, but an employee there did not know the anticipated closing time frame.
In mid-January, Stage Stores operated 158 Gordmans stores. By mid-February, on the heels of disappointing holiday sales, Stage Stores announced that the Fargo and Grand Forks stores would be among about 60 Gordmans marked for closure, along with several other stores owned by Stage. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, temporarily closing all of Stage Stores’ brands, and ultimately dealing the corporation a hit to the bottom line it could not recover from.
Stage Stores also operates discount retailers Peebles, Palais Royal, Bealls and Goody's. It entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in May. It then sought to sell its stable of more than 700 stores, Law360 reported.
The turn of fortune had been dramatic. It was last September that Stage Stores had announced plans to convert all of its stores to the Gordmans banner, with a goal of having about 700 off-price stores by mid-2020,
At the end of 2019, Stage Stores operated in 42 states through 611 Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage specialty department stores and 158 Gordmans stores, and through an e-commerce website.